Paving project set

EAST LIVERPOOL – A paving project funded in part with a 5-mill street levy passed by voters is set to get under way this year, and City Council will be considering Monday whether or not to borrow money against the levy funding so work can begin.

Planning Director Bill Cowan addressed council’s finance committee Tuesday about the project that entails Fifth, Sixth and Walnut streets and Parkway within city limits.

Five bids for the project were opened April 1 and taken under advisement by the Board of Control, with amounts ranging from a low of $1,285,271 by R.T. Vernal Paving of North Lime to a high of $1, 599,221 by Lash Paving Company of Colerain.

Others bidding were The Shelly Company of Twinsburg ($1,293,755); Shelly & Sands Inc., Rayland ($1,595,929); and Stateline Paving, North Lima ($1,561,160).

Cowan advised the committee that R.T. Vernal has been chosen for the project, with Jobes Henderson & Associates chosen for construction management services at a cost of $105,408, bringing the total cost of the project to $1,390,679.

Cowan reported that the city solicited the Ohio Department of Transportation more than three years ago for funding, with 80 percent, or $1,112,543, awarded, leaving the city to pay a 20 percent match, or $278,135 for the project.

A State Infrastructure Bank (SIB) loan was secured for the design and engineering work, which has been completed, he said.

In asking voters for the street levy, council had proposed that 2 mills of the 5 would be set aside specifically for matching funds on major projects, and Cowan said that, ideally, the 20 percent match on this project could be covered with the 2 mills over each of two years, but the auditor’s office has informed him the levy may generate less than the $85,120 per mill originally anticipated, so it is possible 2 mills may be needed over a third year to cover the city’s share.

He recommended the city borrow now against those levy proceeds, and committee member Ryan Stovall said, “I don’t think we have too much of an option. We will still have 3 mills for neighborhood street (projects) but there will just be no more matching funds for a couple of years.”

Service-Safety Director Ryan Estell said council knew when it set 2 mills of the 5 for major projects that there would not be 2 mills available every year for the five-year life of the levy.

“We expected to get to large projects with matching funds out of this levy. This (proposal) gives us another two and a half years (of revenue),” Estell said.

The committee agreed to have legislation prepared for Monday’s meeting authorizing a loan against the levy funds.

Estell has said the project entails a “mill and fill” of the entire length of Fifth Street from Walnut to the hospital and Sixth Street from Walnut to Jefferson Street.

The portion of Sixth Street from Jefferson to Monroe, near the hospital, is not classified on the federal roadway map as a priority roadway, which Estell explained means it cannot be paved with the federal funding being used for the project.

The city’s original intent was to use its Community Development Block Grant funding from the county to complete that portion of the paving, but last year officials were notified by the county it would no longer receive an individual allotment but could take $30,000 each of two years, with Salem also receiving that amount.

However, that is not enough to do the project, so officials opted to let Salem take the entire $60,000 this year with the understanding the city will take the entire $60,000 in 2015 when that last block of Sixth Street as well as Monroe Street between Fifth and Sixth will be repaved, Estell said.

In addition to Fifth and Sixth, all of Walnut and the city’s portion of Parkway will be paved, with full depth repair and road widening also planned for Parkway to help alleviate road slippage.

Council members have been directed to provide lists of neighborhood streets they want to see paved, using the remaining 3 mills of the street levy this year.