MOUNT VERNON — City residents who live on secondary streets have expressed concern to the city on the lack of attention given to neighborhood roads by snowplows. With the freezing temperatures, snow-laden streets have turned to ice and has made travel precarious.
“I understand it is a problem,” said Mayor Richard Mavis. “And after talking with David Carpenter [street department superintendent], traditionally the city has always concentrated on keeping the main arteries open.”
Major roadways that are heavily traveled have always been the first priority for the city and less traveled side streets are secondary.
Mavis explained the extensive cold weather has caused many side streets to have problems with freezing compacted snow and ice. This solidarity, and the lack of sunshine, has caused the grit mixture put down to be less effective, and has made it difficult for snowplows to scrape off streets.
The city is looking at ways to address this issue while still trying to maintain an economical approach. Thus far, this winter has been overwhelming and has put street department employees on 12-hour shifts — with a lot of overtime — tackling streets during the heavy snow falls and ice storms as compared to previous years. And “cost is the issue,” said Mavis. If the city were to focus on side streets as it does to main thoroughfares, the cost of materials only would be an additional $20,000, not including the extra time spent on working the roads. These issues continue to be an obstacle in the face of an unseen end to the cold season.
One hope is as the weather warms up in the days to come snow and ice will melt, and heat from the sun will activate the grit mixture, Mavis said.
In other news:
•Councilman Mike Hillier, chairman of the Planning and Zoning Committee, will discuss the draft legislation for the city solid waste haulers Monday at 6:25 p.m. prior to city council meeting.
Mavis said the city has sent letters to the eight solid waste haulers — previously licensed by the health department — inviting them to share their concerns on the draft legislation with the committee.
•Also on Monday at 6:10 p.m., Councilman Jay Maners, chairman of the Utilities Committee, will discuss the design engineers, Malcolm Pirnie Inc., oversight contract for the water treatment plant electrical upgrades schedule to begin this year.
“We have already awarded the bid, and now we have to entertain a contract to ensure the contractor do the upgrades the way it was designed,” said Mavis. “It’s pretty standard to hire someone to do oversight work. The issue here is the cost; the oversight cost is $1.4 million. This project will take well over a year to complete so this is having a person onsite everyday to oversee the upgrades.”
The total cost for the entire upgrade is $6 million — a number well under the estimated cost. But with the contract for the project already awarded and its amount already budgeted, this additional cost concerns council members.
•And at 6:35 p.m., Councilman Bruce Hawkins, chairman of the Finance Committee, will be discussing a resolution to encourage the Ohio legislators to re-enact the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit. At one point in time, Ohio had the tax credit but it expired and has not been renewed, said Mavis. This issue arose from request presented to council by the Heritage Association and the Woodward Development Corp.
•Debbie Briscoe, Mound View Cemetery forewoman, is planning to speak at Monday night’s council meeting about the staff and operation at Mound View Cemetery.
•Mavis wanted to remind residents, the city will be hosting Ohio Junior Miss Scholarship Program the week of Feb. 19-26.
•Last week, the mayor met with Carpenter to discuss the projected cost of taking the “grit,” a salt/sand mixture, which is swept off the roads after winter road maintenance, to a landfill. The Environmental Protection Agency regulations prohibits the city from reusing the grit on streets. This caused concern for the city because in previous years it had recycled the grit for later use. With winter drawing to an end, the city is considering the possibility of returning to a 100 percent salt mixture for next year, and in doing so, avoid the dumping cost it will have to face this year.