Johnstown Independent

Riffe leaves Village Council, moving to Liberty Township


Longtime Johnstown Village Council member Kevin Riffe announced on Oct. 1 that he is resigning immediately because he and his family are moving to nearby Liberty Township.

"I've enjoyed working with this group," Riffe said. "I'm a big supporter of our employees. I'll stop in and visit."

Riffe served on council for more than 10 years and was mayor from 2004 to 2005 and from 2008 to 2011. He was re-elected to a four-year term on the village council in November 2011.

Village Manager Jim Lenner said after the meeting that council has 30 days to appoint a replacement, who would serve out the remaining two years of Riffe's term.

Riffe said after the meeting that moving out of the village was a family decision.

"It's nice being involved in the community and steering it in a good direction," he said.

Other council members wished Riffe well.

Mayor Sean Staneart thanked him for his service to Johnstown.

"You will be missed," Staneart said.

Riffe is the second council member to step down in the past several weeks.

Councilman Tom Fagan, who was appointed in June, decided he would leave his post at the end of the year, saying his busy work schedule does not allow him the time he needs to put in as a council member.

The seven-member council could change even more after the Nov. 5 General Election. No one filed to run for the final two years of the term to which Fagan was appointed, so someone will have to be named to that post in January.

In addition, four other council seats are up for election. Incumbents Staneart, Joyce Priest-Evans, Sharon Hendren and Carol Van Deest are opposed by residents Bob Orsini and William Vangundy.

In other action Oct. 1, council members hope the third time is the charm for getting some grant money and a loan from the Ohio Public Works Commission for a road project next year.

Council authorized Lenner to seek a $607,000 grant and a $201,000 loan to help pay for an estimated $850,000 reconstruction of part of Concord Road. The village would kick in $42,500 if the state money is approved. It would repay the loan over 20 years.

About a quarter mile between state Route 37 and Concord Place would be reconstructed. If approved by the OPWC, work would begin next summer. State money for the project also was sought in 2011 and 2012.

"The road is horrible," Priest-Evans said.

Lenner agreed and said time is of the essence.

"Every year this goes by, it gets worse," he said.

If that part of Concord is repaired, the next step is to seek state money to reconstruct another half mile of the road east from Concord Place.

That project is estimated to cost about $800,000.