By Mayor Jim Forthofer
Warmer weather…finally! Don’t you feel better already? Vermilion is getting ready to bloom and our snowbirds are returning. It also means we can get down to the job of making repairs and improvements to our city. All of the above are good for our beautiful town.
Ohio Gas Tax and YOU!
Last Mayor’s Notes I encouraged everyone to contact their representatives and insist that Vermilion get a piece of Governor DeWine’s proposed gas tax. Gas tax legislation passed, and we will get a share. You and I are going to wince as we pay an extra 10 percent per gallon at the pump beginning July 1st. That’s the bad news.
The good news.
We get ours! The City of Vermilion will get an estimated $270,000 a year from the State gas tax increase. It should be of some small comfort as you and I fill our tanks. A few cents of that additional dime will come home to roost in places that make a difference in our Vermilion community.
What does this tax do for ME?
$350,000 is approximately our current spendable Vermilion Streets Budget. This is after we service the debt incurred in past years to replace Sanford, Elberta, Sunnyside, Edgewater and Yorktown. The Streets Levy money is in that amount, too. $270,000 more from the State gas tax is a big addition to our available street repair dollars. The State specifies that this new gas tax revenue sent to Vermilion MUST be used for streets, street equipment and personnel.
Speaking of road improvement.
FINALLY! Vermilion Road is being replaced from Liberty to Brownhelm Station Road. Before you get upset about a couple months of detours, I can tell you that this was one of the most complained about road segments in town. Eighty percent of the cost is paid by ODOT through our Erie County Metropolitan Planning organization. The road will be closed northbound from now until approximately July 15th. The southbound lane will remain open. Warm weather will see more children outdoors. Please watch your speed in the neighborhoods used as alternate routes with lower speed limits. I’ve asked Chief Hartung to have VPD increase patrols on those streets. It will all be over soon, and you will be driving on a much improved main road.
Hallelujah! It’s about time for Hollyview Drive.
The long-suffering souls on Hollyview Drive between Sanford and Forestview will also see relief this summer. That section of Hollyview, which is barely a street anymore, will be replaced with funding from the Ohio Public Works Commission. The grant was secured by the previous administration. FYI, replacing a concrete street is almost three times as costly as replacing asphalt. That is often what delays faster action on Valleyview streets.
WOW, all those flags!
Wonder what’s up with the forest of little flags popping up? From now until the end of the year, WOW Cable will be constructing a network of fiber cable lines in preparation for offering video, internet and phone service to Vermilion. Contractors working on behalf of WOW will have identification on their trucks. Homeowners will receive notification from WOW when contractors are working in their area. If you have concerns about the identity of someone around your home call VPD. WOW construction is beginning in Edison Estates. No services will be offered to residents until construction is done everywhere. Construction should be completed by the end of the year.
Vermilion is NOT in the driver seat.
I have learned that cable companies have a sort of “right of way” when entering a community due to State legislation passed last year. Permission of the municipality is not required as long as a cable company adheres to local laws and ordinances. WOW cable has met with Service Director Valerius and me. They have met with our Tree Commission in preparation for trimming trees. They plan to be considerate of our city’s needs. But, the City has no direct say in the company’s construction schedule or locations. The Administration will keep you informed as we are informed. The City will also receive a royalty of 5% on subscriptions and advertising. Our similar contract with Spectrum yielded $173,000 for taxpayers in 2018.
Get ready for another beautiful Vermilion summer. Good things are on the way!