City agrees to purchase new Freightliner medic

City’s water also topic at meeting

By Joshua Keeran -

The Urbana Fire Division will add a new ambulance to its fleet later this year after Urbana City Council on Tuesday authorized the purchase of a 2016 Freightliner chassis outfitted with a Horton patient module.

Urbana Fire Chief Mark Keller said the division expects to take ownership of the new medic from Horton Emergency Vehicles, Grove City, sometime in October or November.

The $249,407 vehicle will replace Medic 2, which has developed some safety issues.

During a work session held last month, Keller said, Medic 2 is 15 years old, so replacement parts are no longer available.

Once the new medic arrives, the UFD has plans for how the old medic will be used.

“We are looking into moving it over for Box 13 (the UFD’s associate department) to use as a rehab vehicle,” Keller said. “They currently have in use one of our older units, which is a 1991 model.”

As for how the UFD currently utilizes its fleet of three medics, Keller said, Medic 1 is used on 84 percent of runs, Medic 2 on 14 percent and Medic 3 on 2 percent.

“We would like to try to get a rotation of every five to seven years of replacing these medic units because of the wear and tear we have on them,” he said.

Water tower maintenance, lead pipe concerns addressed

Council authorized Director of Administration Kerry Brugger to enter into scope of work No. 2 under the master services agreement with Utility Service Company Inc., Atlanta, Georgia, for the long-term care and maintenance of the Gwynne Street water tower.

“It allows (Utility Service Company) to take total responsibility for care and maintenance of our precious assets – the water towers,” Water Superintendent Bob Munch said.

After the city agreed to enter into a total asset program with Utility Service Company, a thorough inspection was done on all four water towers, which revealed the East Lawn Avenue and Gwynne Street towers were in the worst shape, while the towers on the east side and west side of the city were found to be in better shape.

Council agreed to a contract last year for the maintenance and care of the East Lawn Avenue tower.

“The Gwynne Street tower, as you can probably notice from just about anywhere in the city, is looking pretty shabby,” Munch said. “We wanted to get it under contract and work getting done on it this year instead of waiting until next year, however, our budget really didn’t call for it to happen.

“We were able to negotiate a lower term to get it done and started this year, and then we make up for the costs in the final years of the first phase of the contract,” he added.

The contract details state that in year one, the city will pay $40,000 for care and maintenance of the water tower. For years two through six, however, the cost increases to $132,698 per year. In year seven of the contract, the annual cost will be $57,897, and for following years, the contract shall be subject to an adjustment of up to 5 percent per year.

In another water-related issue, Munch addressed the quality of the city’s drinking water following recent events in which lead was found to have contaminated drinking water in Flint, Mich., and in Sebring, Ohio.

“I would like to throw out that the city of Urbana’s water doesn’t meet the criteria of either one of those situations,” he said. “Our water definitely has a non-corrosive pH (level) ranging from 7.2 to 7.6 (the pH of pure water is 7), and it is anything but soft. Our water is particularly hard. Those two facts together lead to a water that is anything but corrosive.”

Munch said there is an easy solution for residents with lead service lines who are concerned about possibility ingesting water containing traces of lead.

“The easiest thing you can do is before drinking the water, let the water run for two to three minutes,” he said. “Whatever was in that service line overnight won’t be in there anymore. That’s the easiest and least expensive way to make sure that you won’t have any exposure to lead.”

Nuisance violators to receive less certified mailings

In what amounts to a cost-saving measure for the city, council passed an ordinance amending the nuisances chapter of the city’s codified ordinances by modifying the notification requirements outlined in the chapter.

“By our current process, we send out a certified notice and a first class notice at the same time,” Community Development Manager Doug Crabill said. “Ninety percent of the time, we get success just from the first class letter, and a lot of the times, folks don’t go and pick up the certified letter.”

The revised ordinance now calls for just a first class letter to be sent out as a first notice to residents in violation of the nuisance code. If the issue isn’t addressed in a timely manner, a certified letter will then be sent out.

Last year alone, Crabill said, the city mailed out 272 certified letters for nuisance violations (tall grass violations not included) at a cost of $6.73 each, so by doing away with certified letters being issued as first notices, the city stands to save over $18,000 a year.

Funding being sought to pave bike path

A ceremonial resolution in support of the city of Bellefontaine’s application for funding to pave the northern extension of the Simon Kenton Trial with asphalt was approved by council.

Crabill, who serves as treasurer of Simon Kenton Pathfinders (SKP), said the northern extension of the bike path was constructed in two phases. After the city of Urbana and SKP collaborated in 2012 to extend the asphalt path from behind the depot to just beyond the end of Railroad Street (just south of Grimes Field), the city of Bellefontaine and SKP collaborated in 2014 to continue the trail from Railroad Street to Carter Avenue in Bellefontaine.

Crabill said the 16-mile stretch from Railroad Street to Bellefontaine was built with a crushed aggregate surface, instead of an asphalt surface like the rest of Simon Kenton Trail.

“Our area is very used to having asphalt-paved trails, so ever since this section to Bellefontaine opened, everyone wants to know when is it going to be paved,” Crabill said. “There are a lot of folks who are not using it because it’s not paved with asphalt, because that is what they are used to.”

If the city of Bellefontaine is successful in acquiring funding through the Ohio Department of Transportation to pave the aggregate surface with asphalt, SKP would be responsible for acquiring the necessary funds for the local match.

In other business:

•Council authorized a purchase order in the amount of $25,000 to Waste Management to complete a curbside community cleanup event April 12-15.

Brugger said that in the past, the city has offered similar events but residents were required to drop off the items at designated sites. This time around, however, city residents will be able to place nonhazardous solid waste at the curb for collection as long as the items are within the guidelines, which are currently being finalized.

Once all the guidelines and restrictions have been worked out between the city and Waste Management, Brugger said, a flyer detailing the community cleanup event will be distributed to residents in an upcoming water bill.

City’s water also topic at meeting

By Joshua Keeran

Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-652-1331 (ext. 1774) or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.

Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-652-1331 (ext. 1774) or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.