In an attempt to help reduce the number of traffic accidents along the U.S. Route 68 corridor, Urbana City Council waived the three-readings rule and passed on first reading an ordinance authorizing the city engineer to apply for funding to re-time a dozen traffic signals.
City Engineer Tyler Bumbalough informed council that upon completion of the Monument Square roundabout in 2009, the project did not include traffic signal timing modifications at intersections within the U.S. Route 68 corridor, which includes North Main Street from Washington Avenue/Gwynne Street to South Main Street at state Route 55, as well as Scioto Street from Kenton Street west to the Miami Street/High Street intersection.
“We have 12 signals in the 68 corridor that are linked and communicate together,” Bumbalough said. “From the years 2012-2014, there were 247 crashes on our corridor on 68. Most of those crashes were rear-end crashes, which will only be helped by recordinating and re-timing these signals.”
Bumbalough said the plan was for the re-timing project to be included in next year’s budget until the city was made aware of the Systematic Signal Timing & Phasing Program offered by the Ohio Department of Transportation.
By a 6-1 vote (Council member Al Evans voted no), council authorized a purchase order in the amount of $5,734 to Hull and Associates Inc. for technical assistance related to the Q3 JMC Inc. property on Miami Street, which the city hopes to redevelop.
Director of Finance Chris Boettcher, in response to how much the city has spent to date on the project, said it has cost the city between $20,000 to $30,000 in operating money from the general fund.
“Most, if not all, expenses associated with this has been for professional services with the attorneys,” she said.
Community Development Manager Doug Crabill added, “We don’t anticipate any additional costs with Hull this year.”
Prior to voting on the purchase order, Evans expressed unwillingness to continue to use taxpayer money on the project. “We don’t even know if we are going to do it or not. We can do a lot of things with $25,000 rather than waste it on that outfit over there,” he said.
In other administration matters, council approved a purchase order in the amount of $49,995 to Southeastern Equipment Company for the purchase of a 2005 New Holland front-end loader for the Urbana Water Reclamation Facility.
Wastewater Superintendent Chad Hall said the front-end loader is used for “removing sludge about twice a year and keeping the compost in the best shape we can keep it.” He added it’s also used to help the Street Department with snow removal, and the front-end loader will replace the Sewer Department’s current 91 model, which will be traded in for $7,500.
Also by a 6-1 vote (Evans voted no), council approved a purchase order to Howell Buildings Company in the amount of $2,800 for the purchase and installation of custom curved rake trims for both the north and south ends of the Grimes Hangar at Grimes Field. The purchase is in addition to the $68,309 council approved in August for the Hangar Door Replacement Project.
“The door project (at Grimes Hangar) continues to move forward,” Brugger said. “The doors are in and being installed.”
In other business:
•Council passed an ordinance amending the city’s official zoning map by rezoning the Dollar Tree property on East U.S. Route 36 from a B-1 Urbana Township zoning district to a B-2 general business zoning district within city limits.
•A second reading was held concerning an ordinance to establish Chapter 171 of the city’s codified ordinances and amend Chapter 173 as needed to comply with statewide municipal income tax reform.
Boettcher said one of the major changes being mandated by the state through House Bill 5 is that the city will need volunteers for a local tax review board.
“We are looking to have the mayor appoint one position, and City Council will need to appoint two residents of Urbana to that board to act on any issues that may come up with the enactment of the new rules,” she said.
Residents interested in serving on the board, beginning Jan. 1, are asked to contact any council member or Clerk of Council Amy Deere at 937-652-5150.
•Leaf pickup within the city has begun, and Brugger asked that residents get their leaves to the curb as soon as they can. Council member Doug Hoffman reminded residents to rake leaves to the curb, not into the street.
•Brugger informed the public that Pointe North on North U.S. Route 68 closed for the season on Nov. 1.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-652-1331 (ext. 1774) or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.