By DAVID GREEN
Fayette village council members voted unanimously last week to move forward with a project to resurface and widen Industrial Parkway—a major source of truck traffic on the north edge of the village.
The cost of the project is estimated at $770,000 and nearly 80 percent of that will be paid by grants.
"It's a shame to turn down that kind of money," said village fiscal officer Karin Sauerlender, when she was asked for her opinion on the issue. "It needs to be done and if you have to fix it later, you're never going to get as good a deal again."
Even if the project were scaled down, she said, the village would end up paying more.
The budget for the project shows the Village paying a $162,000 interest-free loan over a 10-year period. Village administrator Steve Blue explained to council members previously how the growth in employment at ZF-TRW and at Cra-Z-Art should cover the loan payments.
His estimate of annual income tax revenue growth stands at $19,656 on the low end and $26,317 at a midpoint guess. In addition, he noted, Cra-Z-Art is seeking state help for a major investment in equipment.
"We've got a road out there in need of attention," Blue said. "It's not wide enough and it's already starting to show that the chip and seal is not going to last too long. Just one mild winter and it's wavy and has pretty big dips in it and is crumbling at the edges."
Blue said he's heard concern about tackling this project at the same time as increasing water rates.
"If you're looking at one or the other, I'm going to suggest that this is the one we should do. This is $600,000 in grant money."
The water fund could be supplemented by general fund money for a limited time, he said, and by shifting some spending around to different accounts. The water fund shortfall can't be ignored, he said, but it could be covered for two or three years.
Blue said that he isn't telling council not to increase water rates at the same time, as he and Sauerlender have been urging, but if council is going to choose, he recommends taking the grant money for roads.
"What if we vote to go ahead and then we don't get as much money?" councilor Scott Wager asked, noting that the largest grant is listed as preliminary.
The grant would not be partially given, Sauerlender explained. The Village would receive either all or nothing.
Blue added that approval is 99.9 percent certain, but the final dispersal of funds would not be made until July 1 when the State's fiscal year begins. Council's approval of the project can be made pending final approval without spending any money.
Engineering can get underway in July and bids could be sought in the fall, Blue said. Construction would get underway in 2017.
"Are there chances of the project getting bigger?" asked councilor Mat Johnson.
Blue said that the village's engineering firm tends to estimate on the high side and a larger project isn't likely. On the other hand, if the project comes in below estimates, the Village's loan would shrink. Grant money will be used first.
Wagner's motion to move forward pending final grant approval by the Ohio Public Works Commission was accepted 6-0.
DRUG BOX—Fayette was approved to receive a CVS/pharmacy grant to have a drug collection unit installed. Police chief Jason Simon hopes to have it placed in the lobby of the village hall if it isn't too large. This will give residents an easy way to discreetly dispose of unused and outdated medication when the offices are open.
ELECTRICITY—Council approved Blue's recommendation to extend its contract with Muirfield Energy for the source of electrical power. The power will be provided by Champion Energy Services through Muirfield.
The current contract with Muirfield has a rate of $0.0629 per kilowatt hour and has come with an estimated savings of $3,500 compared to Edison/First Energy rates. When it expires in May 2017, a new three-year contract will begin at a rate of $0.0499. That should bring a savings of about $15,000 over three years.
MOBILE 311—Wagner asked Blue if progress has been made regarding Mobile 311, the service that will help keep track of infrastructure maintenance needs and tasks. Blue said a preliminary spreadsheet was sent to the firm, along with a copy to village workers to see if they have any additions to make.
METER—Wagner also asked about progress in testing the meter at the water plant. A firm will arrive on March 23 to test the meter at a cost of $650.