Vermilion City Council votes to approve several upcoming projects

By: Melanie Williamson

Vermilion City Council met for a regular meeting on Monday, June 19. During the meeting, councilmembers provided updates from the committee meetings, which were held on Monday, June 12, before delving into new business and updates from other city offices.

Mayor Eileen Bulan started her report by thanking the Vermilion Chamber of Commerce for all the work that went into making the Fish Festival a success. She also thanked all the donors that made the fireworks show possible. Mayor Bulan shared that the community pool is offering swim lessons for the next several weeks. The Vermilion Rotary Club offered free swim lessons the week of June 12 through June 15. She stated that 30 children participated in the free swim lessons, and it was so successful that Rotary will be offering a second week of free swim lessons the week of July 10. Parents interested in registering their children for swim lessons should contact the community pool.

Mayor Bulan also shared that the city’s Touch-a-Truck event will be Saturday, July 22, in Victory Park. She said there will be games, face painting, and the fire department will be hosting a pancake breakfast.

Finally, Mayor Bulan explained that she would like the city to apply for a critical infrastructure grant that would help pay to replace the waterlines on Altamont Road. She explained that the grant would be for $300,000 with a 10% match from the city. This would mean the city would receive $270,000 if they agree to contribute $30,000 to help cover the costs of the work. Due to the timeline for the grant application, she requested the council vote to approve the $30,000 that night, which they did later in the meeting.

Following the mayor, finance director Brian Keller updated the council on a training conference he recently attended. He also shared that the city recently received a records request. He stated that although the city does not receive many of them, once the Ohio Checkbook website is up and running, people will have access to those records. Councilman James Forthofer stated that at an earlier meeting, Keller had reported that there were issues with the Ohio Checkbook website and asked if those problems had been resolved. Keller responded that they have not yet, and the problems are on the website end, which is not something he can control.

City engineer Lynn Miggins reported on several upcoming projects for the city. The first being the summer road projects; which is repaving on Sailorway Drive, Woodside Avenue, and Birchview.  Miggins reported that bids were opened on Friday, June 16, and they received two bids for Sailorway, and one bid each for Birchview and Woodside. She stated that the recommendation to council was to award all three contracts to Precision Paving, Inc. of Milan, Ohio. The bids presented are as follows: Contract A – Sailorway  – $163,590.00, Contract B – Woodside Avenue – $101.699.00 for paving and $57,241.00 to be paid from stormwater fund for drainage improvements, and Contract C – Birchview – $99,614.00 in a total amount not to exceed $422,144.00. In addition to presenting the contracts, Miggins requested they vote to approve the contracts that evening, so the projects can get started since the goal was to get Sailorway done before the start of school in August.

Councilman Forthofer brought up a budget concern regarding the road project. When they decided on what roads to pave earlier in the year, it was decided that they would limit the buffer to $100,000. With the proposed bids, the total cost minus the amount coming out of the stormwater fund and the $250,000 coming from the roads budget, is $114,903, which means the project already exceeds the $100,000 buffer. After a brief discussion, it was decided they would look at it further at the next Streets, Buildings, and Grounds Committee meeting, which will be held on Monday, July 10.

Councilman Frank Louka asked if Miggins was confident Precision Paving could handle all three projects. Miggins responded that they have been working with the company since 2010 and have had a positive experience so far. Later in the meeting, council voted to approve the contracts, so the job could be started.

Miggins also reported on the Kensington-Edgewater Storm Sewer Project, sharing that bids for that project were opened on Thursday, June 8, and it was determined that Herk Excavating, Inc. of Vermilion submitted the winning bid in an amount not to exceed $89,071. She explained that $11,000 of that will be coming from the CDBG Neighborhood Revitalization grant, and asked that council vote to approve the bid that night because the deadline for the grant money to be applied is Thursday, August 31. Later in the meeting, council did vote to approve the contract.

The next project Miggins reported on was the Highbridge bridge replacement project, which was opened for bidding on Thursday, June 8. She explained that they received two bids, and the winning bid was from Mosser Construction in the amount of $1,926,579.78, which was 9% over the engineers estimate. She went on to say that the state is paying $1,696,000 of the project, but it needs to be voted on at the Wednesday, July 5, council meeting because the deadline to award the contract is Friday, July 7. Councilwoman Barb Brady asked if the project included any paving of the road or just the bridge because the road was pretty bad. Miggins responded that this project was for just the bridge, but agreed the road was very bad and suggested it be something the council look at for 2019 when the bridge project is complete.

Finally, Miggins provided an update on the parking lot and storm sewer upgrades being made at fire department station #2. She explained that while installing the storm sewer, a buried foundation was discovered, which slowed the project down and added work. She stated it was an unforeseen problem, and once the project was completed, she would update the council on additional time, labor, and equipment costs.

The council also received the certificate of estimated property tax revenue from the Lorain County auditor’s office in regards to the proposed 1 mil Parks and Recreational Board levy for the November ballot. According to the certificate, the total current tax valuation of the city is $269,025,800, and a 1 mil levy would generate $269,026 annually. Council was presented with the first reading of an ordinance to have the levy placed on the Erie and Lorain County ballots for the Tuesday, November 7, election.

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