EAST PALESTINE - Following a brief discussion last week, Village Council has decided to hire a contractor to perform some street repairs around town.
Councilman Fran Figley made the suggestion, stating that he believes hiring a contractor would be less expensive than using the street department to smooth out the 13 to 14 areas where roads were dug up to fix waterline breaks.
Figley said the water and sewer departments did put some slag on the road after digging to reach the utility lines but roads remain bumpy and uneven in those areas.
"It's been a lengthy period of time. I suggested to council a few weeks ago we try to move forward on repairing this," he said.
He also said he has received quotes from four different contractors, with the lowest coming in at $7,950. He said for the village crew to perform the task materials alone would be around $4,000, plus the cost of labor.
Councilwoman Ellen Beagle questioned whether the street workers could do the repairs as adequately as a hired contractor.
"I don't want to criticize anyone," Figley responded, but said he believes the contractor is the better choice.
He added the street crew has several other things to work on in the meantime, and hiring a one-time contractor would free up more time for them to get projects done.
"The village employees have other work to do. It wouldn't be putting them out of work," he said.
He pointed out the workers will be needed on the Moore Lane waterline project currently under way.
Beagle said she liked the idea of putting this particular responsibility on a contractor in order to keep street workers on other necessary projects.
She also said she believes hiring a contractor would get the job done quicker and be less expensive.
Councilman Scott Rauch agreed.
"I agree, too. They've been here too long," he said of the bumps in the road. He added that once the contractor is finished making repairs village employees will then responsible for any future repairs as needed.
Figley said the $7,950 would come out of the street levy fund.
Rauch said there is currently an overage in the fund so using that money wouldn't be a problem.
Other council members agreed that a contractor would be the best route. Village Manager Pete Monteleone said the surface repairs will not affect any utilities.
In other street-related matters, Monteleone said the village has received an interest-free loan for the Sumner Street Bridge project. The project is estimated to cost $316,000 and the village has yet to award a contract for the work, which includes replacement of the concrete deck. The village began seeking state funding in 2009 and Monteleone said he is continuing to pursue grant funding.
Figley cautioned that the village shouldn't be spending money on the bridge right now.
"I feel there is no need to get excited about that bridge I hope we don't get off the wrong track to spend money on that bridge," he said.
In other business, Mayor Margo Zuch commended Finance Director Traci Thompson and the village for a clean audit from the auditor of state in July. The village received a certificate for the award that is given based on timely filing of financial reports and the use of generally accepted accounting procedures. A clean audit means there were no findings for recovery, citations or questioned costs.
Council then approved:
- A contract with J.S. Northeast Company Inc. for the Moore Lane waterline project.
- Soliciting bids to sell the 1979 Sutphen pumper fire truck.
A legislation committee meeting was set for 7 p.m. Aug. 21 at the police station.