2012-05-26 / News

Licking Township to spend $238,594 on roads

By Charles Prince

JACKSONTOWN – Licking Township Trustees decided unanimously Monday night to dip into their reserves, but not their $3 million estate tax windfall, to fund their complete list of 2012 road resurfacing projects.

Three construction companies submitted sealed bids Monday. The Shelly Company of Thornville submitted the low bid of $238,593.90. Kokosing Construction Company of Fredricktown was a very close second at $240,190.00. Shelly bid $79.75 per ton for 448T-1 Asphalt Concrete with limestone aggregate and $1.95 per gallon for tack coat compared to $81.30 per ton and $1.80 per gallon from Kokosing. Construction Management Services of Culloden, WV, bid $387,175.02. Trustees unanimously awarded the bid to the Shelly Company.

Project costs for two inches of 448T-1 Asphalt Concrete are:

• Sandy Lane (Fair View Addition) - 1,412 feet long by 18 feet wide - $25,316.45;

• Hill Crest (Fair View Addition) - 810 feet long by 18 feet wide - $14,512.95;

• Merry Lane (Fair View Addition) - 785 feet long by 18 feet wide - $14,110.30;

• Meadow Lane (Fair View Addition) - 785 feet long by 18 feet wide - $14,110.30;

• Kirby Lane (Fair View Addition) - 1,775 feet lone by 18 feet wide - $31,848.35;

• Ridgeley Tract (from Licking Trails to the railroad bed) - 3,244 feet long by 17 feet average width - $54,906.45;

• Pleasant Lee Drive - 1,280 feet long by 18 feet wide - $28,138.90;

• Darren Drive - 440 feet long by 18 feet wide - $13,061.85;

• Hill Top/Terrace (Avondale area) - 355 feet long by 14 feet wide - $4,999.10;

• Lake Drive (Avondale area) - 800 feet long by 12 feet wide - $9,593.60;

• Bay Street (Maple Bay area) - 335 feet long by 14 feet wide - $4,676.20;

• Julia Street (Maple Bay area) - 280 feet long by 13 feet wide - $3,627.75;

• Lynn Street (Maple Bay area) - 280 feet long by 13 feet wide - $3,386.55; and

• Maple Avenue (Maple Bay area) - 1,000 feet long by 13 feet wide - $16,305.15.

President Joe Hart again emphasized the need to do some long term planning during the discussion about how much to spend on road improvements this year. “We need some work sessions on long term planning,” he said.

“We need a plan,” Trustee Dave Miller agreed. Hart added that he doesn’t think the township can afford to spend $250,000 on roads every year.

In other business Monday night, Hart reported that the Licking County Commissioners asked him to meet with them during lunch last week. The topic was the long stalled Jacksontown Sewer project. Hart said the commissioners asked whether trustees would consider funding part of the project.

Ohio EPA ordered Licking County Commissioners nearly six years ago to build a waste water collection system to serve about 125 residents and businesses in the Jacksontown area. The order was issued after Ohio EPA determined that failing septic systems were polluting a stream and drainage ditches. The collection system would connect to an existing system near the Lakewood Schools complex to be conveyed to the Buckeye Lake wastewater treatment plant.

Licking County submitted plans for a permit-to-install (PTI) in May 2009 and the final revised plans on Oct. 28, 2010. Ohio EPA issued a PTI on Nov. 8, 2010, that required construction to start within 18 months. The PTI included a cost estimate of $2,151,280 with construction starting in July 2011, with work lasting approximately 11 months.

Licking County sought a Principle Forgiveness Loan from Ohio EPA to fund part of the system’s cost. The initial income survey conducted in 2007 showed that the area’s median household income was a bit too high to qualify for the loan. Last September, Licking County decided to resurvey residents, believing that current economic conditions may mean the project would qualify for grant assistance. Ohio EPA requires that at least 83 percent of the residents participate in the survey and last year’s effort fell short of that mark.

An Ohio EPA spokesperson told The Beacon Tuesday that the PTI has been extended and that construction must start by May 2013. If that deadline is not met, the PTI will expire, requiring Licking County to resubmit its application. At some point, failure to start construction could also lead to fines for polluting the waters of the state.

Hart told commissioners that he couldn’t speak for trustees. “I have very mixed feelings about contributing,” he added. Hart might consider a low interest loan from the township’s estate tax windfall where the township would get the money back.

“It’s their problem (commisioners) and they want to drag us into it so we throw some money in it,” Miller said. He’s also OK with making a low interest loan.

“I’m willing to listen to them,” Miller added. “I don’t want them to think we are going to write them a blank check.”

Hart discussed how to respond to the request. “We’re probably not interested in an out and out grant,” he said. “We MAY be willing to participate in a low interest loan.” He noted that commissioners didn’t talk about putting up any grants; the discussion focused on the township providing a grant.

Trustee Ron Acord, who owns a small lot in the affected area, and Miller agreed with Hart that they are willing to listen to a presentation from commissioners or Water and Wastewater Director Kevin Eby.

During public comments, about a half dozen Licking Trails’ residents expressed concerns about plans for Hecker’s Farm on the former Rayco property near the intersection with Irving Wick Drive. A webpage promotes a “Freaky Forest,” “Pumpkin Inferno” and other ‘Fun on the Farm’ activities. Neighbors said plans include music, strobe lights and a late night drive-in theatre. Michael Heckmann of Hecker’s Landscaping has reportedly leased the 125 acres for two years with an option to purchase.

The farm is zoned residential as Licking Township doesn’t have designated agricultural districts. “Our zoning says agriculture is allowed in all districts,” Hart said. He believes the proposed activities may fall under ag entertainment which is permitted statewide.

“I’m not sure we’ll have any jurisdiction over it,” Hart added. He suggested getting Zoning Inspector Joe Walker and the township’s legal counsel involved. “The State of Ohio decides what is agriculture,” he explained.

“This is not a farm,” Miller said. “It is a business and now we’re back to a business in a residential area.” Miller agreed to discuss the matter with Walker and the county prosecutor’s office.

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