Two items pertaining to school infrastructure took center stage during Tuesday’s Urbana City Council meeting.
Council member Al Evans addressed the ongoing situation between officials from the city and Urbana City Schools over whether the city or school district is responsible for building and/or improving the road to the proposed site of the new pre-kindergarten to grade 8 building on 60 acres the district owns next to the Champaign Family YMCA on Community Drive.
“I recommend to the school board that you make an appointment with Mr. (Kerry ) Brugger (city director of administration) and Mayor (Bill) Bean and you get all the facts surrounding this rift between the school system and city regarding the building of this new building,” Evans said. “I’m trying to be civilized about this, but I’m getting tired of hearing out in the community how certain school board members are out there throwing the city – the council and the administration – under the bus over this mismanagement issue by our school superintendent.”
Urbana City Schools Superintendent Charles Thiel said previously the district had thought to extend Community Drive north to the building site, but building a road and extending utilities may exceed the district’s estimated costs.
“It is the citizens’ duty to hold elected officials accountable for what they do,” Evans said. “As a citizen, I want to go on record that I want to hold the school board accountable for what you say and what you do, and that you should get the facts from the administration so you will know where we are coming from.”
Urbana City Schools voters approved a 7.15-mill bond issue in November 2014 to build the pre-kindergarten to grade 8 building and knock down and reconstruct the current junior high/high school building on its current site. The $68 million project will keep the “Castle” structure at the high school and fund demolition of the remaining schools in the district if they cannot be sold.
Sidewalk project to continue
Also during the meeting, council, by a 6-1 vote (Council member Dwight Paul voted no), approved the amendment of a contract with DLZ Ohio adding new services in the amount of $10,500 for title and appraisal work related to the Safe Routes to School Phase 2 Project, which involves installing sidewalks on the south side of Boyce Street from East Lawn Avenue to Jefferson Avenue and on the east side of Madison Avenue from Boyce Street to Central Street (back of East Elementary).
“This project was put together prior to the levy passing for the new (school) buildings,” Community Development Manager Doug Crabill said. “We checked with ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) and they asked us to leave our project scope how it was originally submitted.”
In response to Paul questioning whether the sidewalks are needed since new schools are being built, Crabill said the city could give the approximately $200,000 grant for construction costs back to ODOT, which in turn would give the money to another entity.
Council waived the three-readings rule and passed a resolution authorizing Brugger to accept a $5,000 grant from the Dayton Power & Light Company and the DP&L Foundation.
Brugger said the money will be deposited into city’s Park and Recreation Trust Fund and is earmarked for electrical improvements to the stage at Melvin Miller Park.
“They do a lot of good philanthropic efforts around the community and around the Miami Valley,” he said. “This is one of their ways of trying to give back to the community.”
Council signed off on city funds being spent on the following three items brought forth for approval by the administration:
•Nine change orders total $29,465.21 to Kinnison Excavating for part 2 of the Phase 1 Water Main Replacement Project (Wooddale-Amherst).
“We incurred some costs that we didn’t plan on throughout the project,” Crabill said, noting the project is in the restoration stage and nearing completion.
Crabill added one of the change orders is related to additional street resurfacing of a portion of Amherst Drive (between Wooddale Drive and Bon Air Drive) that wasn’t directly impacted by the water main project.
•A purchase order to Corporate Equipment Company in the amount of $16,000 for the purchase of two new pumps to replace the existing pumps at the Street Department’s stormwater pump station on the east side of the West Light Street bridge.
“We had catastrophic failure of both pumps earlier this summer, probably due to age,” Street Superintendent Colin Stein said. “The pumps’ tags said 1961.”
•A purchase order in the amount of $13,765.85 to Software Solutions for the annual software license and maintenance support for the city’s financial systems.
Council unanimously approved the following measures following third readings:
•A resolution authorizing preliminary approval between the city and ODOT for pavement planing and resurfacing of state Route 54 from Scioto Street to Powell Avenue in the summer of 2018.
“Our local cost is anticipated right now to be $80,250,” Crabill said. “If oil starts going back up, that number will go up.”
•An ordinance adopting the tax budget for fiscal year beginning Jan. 1, 2016.
“We are looking at a $6.292 million revenue coming in,” Brugger said.
•An ordinance amending chapter 141 of the city’s codified ordinance concerning ambulance service rates and charges.
“In 2012, we aligned our rates with the American Medical Association (AMA) Standards,” Fire Chief Mark Keller said at a previous council meeting. “We did a recent assessment to find out what our comparable rates are in the county as well as outside of our local region here, and we determined we were really low.”