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Trustees decide to stick with bids

UNION TOWNSHIP – No more delays – Union Township Trustees opted to stick with their original choice for a contractor to upgrade security at the Union Township complex despite some minor concerns Assistant Licking County Prosecutor Austin Lecklider had concerning the bidding process.

Trustees plan to move the Union Township Police Department into the Beaver Run Road complex from its current location on Refugee Road, but the complex requires significant security upgrades before that can happen.

“Austin thought there were two bids, but there were three,” said Trustee President John Slater during Monday night’s trustee meeting. He said Lecklider noticed a significant difference between bid winner William Gulick Construction’s estimated charge – roughly $7,800 – and Tim Wilson Construction, which was $16,000, and included some additional work not in the bid specifications. The third bid, Colopy Remodeling Services, Inc., was for $6,660, but it didn’t include drywall work. Slater said Gulick’s bid included drywall, but did not include work needed to secure the west doors of the complex, but even with that work Gulick would charge significantly less than Tim Wilson Construction. Lecklider advised that if trustees believed there was anything questionable about the bidding the project should be rebid.

“I would like to see us get started on this,” said Trustee Rick Black, who didn’t want to delay the remodeling process further. All three trustees agreed that there are reasonable explanations for Lecklider’s concerns and Gulick would remain the contractor. “I say, let’s forge ahead,” said Slater, who added that Lecklider’s concerns were just advisement and not a suggested course of action.

JBA Architects Vice President Greg Cotterman previously said plans are to use the right side of the Union Township Complex for the Union Township Police Department, which will require two secure doors and a “pass through” window to keep the single officer department separated from the public. Trustees also want to create a small evidence room. So, Cotterman said total plans call for three doors, the window, and the evidence room.

In other township news,

• Slater said the township’s loader is seriously corroded after years of loading road salt into trucks and will likely need replacement soon. However, trustees wonder if it isn’t wiser to replace it with a more versatile backhoe. “It caught us off guard,” he said. He said the loader, which was purchased in 2003 and well maintained since, corroded far more quickly than expected. The loader costs $40,000 to $55,000 to replace.

“We need a Plan B in case it fails,” said Trustee Rick Black. “The salt has really taken its toll on it.” He wasn’t sure if it would cost more to repair the loader than it’s worth. Slater pointed out that the township couldn’t borrow a loader from Hebron because the village would need to use it at the same time as the township during snow events.

Slater said Wednesday that trustees would compare the costs of loaders and trackhoes to determine if a trackhoe is an affordable option.

• Trustee Jesse Ours said he was pleased that the Hebron Historical Society has some interest in the in the old Baptist Church at the corner of Beaver Run and Canyon Roads. “The outside’s the worst,” he said.

Trustees worry that the township may be saddled with maintaining the church and the surrounding cemetery. Previously, Larry Swain, executive minister for the American Baptist Churches of Ohio offered trustees the abandoned church and possibly the active cemetery at the corner of Canyon and Beaver Run roads. Black said the church and the cemetery are on the same parcel of property, and according to the Ohio Revised Code, a cemetery owner can abandon maintenance responsibility to the township if the owner is no longer able to maintain it.

In other words, the township may have no legal choice but to take responsibility for the old church and the cemetery. Since the church has gravesites on its property, then the township would also be required to maintain the old church building.

The American Baptist Churches of Ohio used to own the now Union Township Complex, which was formerly a newer version of the Licking Baptist Church that the township purchased at a foreclosure auction.

Slater said Wednesday said the Hebron Historical Society may have some interest in the church building as a “pet project.” Should the historical society adopt the church, the township would still be obligated to maintain the cemetery. He said the “historically significant” church needs some exterior repairs to protect its interior.

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