Swanton Village Council is looking ahead to two future construction projects. Council approved on Aug. 10 a pair of emergency resolutions to seek Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) funding.
The first project is the repaving of Crestwood and Woodside drives. Due to presence of the elementary school, the Water and Sewer Committee recommended adding curb and gutter to Crestwood Drive.
“There’s a school there. The water will be drained off. We won’t worry about ice,” said David Pilliod, committee member. “It’s probably money well spent, in my opinion.”
Estimated cost of reconstructing Crestwood Drive is $706,500 and includes an eight-inch water main to replace a six-inch main.
Woodside Drive will only be resurfaced, and will not have curb and cutter. It is estimated to cost approximately $100,000.
The village will also seek funding for Project 8 and 9 sewer separation.
OPWC funding would become available in July 2021 if the village’s application is successful. It would then have to be used by October 2022.
Council also passed an emergency resolution supporting a temporary expansion of Benfield Wines’ liquor permit. Benfield Wines would put tables for outdoor seating outside their building at the corner of Main Street and Zeiter.
Administrator Rosanna Hoelzle told Council Police Chief Adam Berg had no immediate concerns regarding the request.
Benfield Wines will also need approval from the local health department.
Early in the meeting, a moment of silence was held in honor of Rick Ueberroth, a former councilman, mayor, and school principal in Swanton.
“Rick served the community well for many years and was very dedicated to the community,” said Mayor Neil Toeppe.
Finance Director Jennifer Harkey told the Finance Committee that revenue is looking better than originally feared.
“The most recent analysis is much more optimistic than the analysis provided in April,” said Harkey. “I’m cautiously optimistic.”
For example, local employers were estimated to have had increased or flat revenue for March through May, according to her report, so no tax withholding loss is now expected. The analysis from April estimated a loss of just over $111,000.
There will be another analysis done in September.
The Finance Committee also discussed potential purchases to be made with COVID-19 relief money from House Bill 481.
Items approved included automatic door entry to the Administration Building, touchless sinks, toilets, and dispensers in restrooms, touch-free water fountains, and motion sensor lights at Memorial Park restrooms and the administrative lobby.
Not approved was a $3,000 cost for live streaming equipment and services for public meetings. Councilman Mike Rochelle said it could be discussed at a future meeting, but there were concerns about privacy and liability issues.
“Having the meetings recorded like we’ve done in the past, voice-recorded for meeting minute notes and for a public records request, I think that can remain, and we can continue with that,” he said. “But as far as live streaming videos out, there’s some concern about having individuals use that as a platform, to not use it for the appropriate platform or disparage neighbors. That type of thing.”
Mayor Toeppe is one of those in favor of continuing to live stream meetings once coronavirus restrictions are lifted.
The committee also heard about an unexpected cost related to the Safe Routes to Schools project in the village. Part of the project was to install new safety gates at the Norfolk Southern rail crossing on Main Street.
The village was recently informed by Norfolk Southern it would cost $17,000 to review the project. After some discussion, a cost not to exceed $12,500, or half the originally estimated cost, was agreed upon.
“It was unexpected. That portion of the project is supposed to be about $25,000, and Norfolk is saying it would cost not to exceed $12,500 just to review it,” Hoelzle said.
Mayor Toeppe reported that separating EMS from local fire departments has been recommended. Councilwoman Kathy Kreuz, Fire Chief Andy Shaffer, Hoelzle, and Toeppe have discussed the proposal and have concerns.
“We don’t think separating the EMS and the fire operations would be beneficial, and, in fact, would be detrimental to the safety of the community,” said Toeppe.
Visit our website for more details on the proposal.
Toeppe also reported plans to update the village’s comprehensive plan from 2008.
Hoelzle told Council the project 10 sewer separation in the area of Brookside Drive is mostly complete and the business alley projects should begin soon. There was a delay with the alley project due to required gas work.
She also addressed concerns with utility bills. She said there are multiple reasons they could be higher including increased summer usage and switching to monthly readings for outdoor meters.
Hoelzle encouraged those with concerns to contact the village at 419-826-9515. “We’d rather those questions be answered so everyone has a clear picture,” she said.
Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010