New road salt bin to be ready by spring
UNION TOWNSHIP- After clearing some unexpected hurdles, Union Township Trustees have decided to move ahead with plans to build a new salt bin, but the vote was not unanimous.
“We’re ready to move forward,” said trustee President John Slater during Monday night’s meeting.
JBAArchitects Vice President Gregory Cotterman presented the trustees with plans for the 40’ by 60’ salt bin. “We’re going to do this in February now,” said Cotterman.
He said the design is ready to be placed out for bid and he estimated the project would cost roughly $95,000. “This is just a projection,” he said, hoping that the bids come in lower. Cotterman said trustees are not required to accept any bid if they believe it’s too high. “I don’t see this being a real complicated project,” he said, adding that if it weren’t for the state guidelines, the salt bin would already be completed.
Bids will be opened Jan. 17. Cotterman said construction would take roughly 60 days.
Trustee Rick Black said the salt bin could have avoided much of the bid process if it were under $50,000. In the project’s early phases, trustees discussed building a bin for less than $50,000, but quickly realized that meeting the township’s requirements would be more expensive.
Trustee Jesse Ours said he remembered discussion of a $50,000 salt bin and wondered why that wouldn’t work. He objected to paying $95,000 or more for the bin. “I don’t like it,” he said, and voted against moving forward with the existing plan. Slater and Black voted in favor. Ours said he thought the project is too expensive and wondered if it needed to be as big as designed.
Slater said the existing design is what trustees agreed the township needed from the beginning. He said they never expected it to cost less than $70,000. “It was never $50,000,” said Slater.
Black said the process for a public work project is very complex. “We could not get it close to $50,000,” he said. “By the time we got everything we need, it was over $50,000.”
Slater said he believes it’s foolish to build a smaller salt bin especially now, because he expects the Environmental Protection Agency will eventually require all salt to be loaded into trucks indoors, which the existing design would allow. “It’s a matter of time until all salt is loaded inside,” he said.
In other township news:
• Black said he hadn’t heard anything from Hebron officials regarding the township’s proposed fire contract for 2013 that trustees unanimously approved two weeks ago.
The township has contracted with the Village of Hebron for years to provide fire and EMS services for the unincorported parts of the township south of the Columbus and Ohio River Railroad. In recent years, the township has been paying 60 percent of the Hebron Fire Department’s operating expenses. That worked out to be about $650,000 for 2012. The two-year contract expires at the end of the year.
Trustees have offered Hebron $420,000 for 2013, claiming that’s all they have based on next year’s anticipated revenue of $505,000 from their 1.8 and 1.5 mill fire levies and paying Granville Township Fire Department to cover the area north of the railroad.
Previously, Black said the township has been dipping into its general fund to cover the current $650,000 contract and there’s simply no general fund money left to use toward the next contract with Hebron. Black said general fund money can be used toward fire and EMS service, but, “It shouldn’t be.” He said the township’s former fiscal officer led trustees to believe the township had more money than it did, and if trustees were aware that general fund money would be used toward the existing contract, they may not have agreed to it.
Hebron officials are not happy about the proposed $230,000 reduction for 2013. Several council members are questioning why Hebron property owners, who pay six mills for fire/EMS, should subsidize township property owners who are only paying 3.3 mills. Council members will have to approve the new contract.
• Trustees will hold their year end meeting at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 27.