Road repair crews will be out in full force throughout Urbana later this year after City Council on Tuesday approved over $330,000 in repaving and maintenance work for 18 city roadways.
To carry out the city’s 2016 Paving Program, council authorized a purchase order to enter into a unit price contract with A&B Asphalt Corporation, Springfield, in the amount of $309,499.02, with the Champaign County Engineer’s Office contributing $55,125.13 to the total cost.
“We are getting back to our normal routine with our Asphalt Program,” City Engineer Tyler Bumbalough said.
The city’s Paving Program for the year involves asphalt repaving of the following sections of roadway: North Russell Street from Miami Street to Gwynne Street, Railroad Street from West Light Street north to the dead end, Weidmann Way from Gwynne Street to Union Alley, Union Alley from Glenn Avenue east to the dead end, East Powell Avenue from South Kenton Street to state Route 54 (joint project of city and county), and West Powell Avenue from South High Street west to the dead end.
Maintenance work in the form of crack sealing will be done this year on sections of East Lawn Avenue, Washington Avenue, Boyce Street, West Drive, East Drive, South High Street and state Route 55.
The following streets will be crack sealed from end to end: Dorothy Moore Avenue, Fountain Circle, Diamond Court and Sweetman Street.
In a separate street improvement matter, council signed off on a purchase order to the Champaign County Commission in the amount of $22,387.50 for the city’s local share of the $85,387.50 Taft Avenue Improvements Project, which will be carried out by The Shelly Company, Springfield, and involves repaving all four blocks of Taft Avenue. American with Disabilities Act-compliant curb ramps will be installed during the project.
The majority of the cost of the project – $63,000 – is being covered through a Champaign County Community Development Block Grant.
Group health insurance
Based on the recommendation of the city’s Health Insurance Committee, council authorized the purchase of Medical Mutual group health insurance and related life, vision and dental insurances at a cost of $1,313,279.90.
The decision to renew its policy with Medical Mutual comes with a 14.9 percent increase from 2015. The city had budgeted only a 10 percent jump. To help offset the difference, the city’s contribution to participating employees’ Health Savings Accounts (HSA) will be decreased as of March 1.
The city’s contribution to HSA family plans will decrease from $3,800 to $3,400, while the city’s contribution to HSA single plans will decrease from $1,900 to $1,700.
Director of Administration Kerry Brugger said by decreasing HSA contributions, the city was able to get the percent increase in health insurance from 2015 to 2016 down to 9.2 percent.
“With the work from the Health Insurance Committee and Chris (Boettcher) and Liela (Anderson) trying to crush numbers in working with the brokers, we were able to stay within our budget for 2016,” he said.
Mayor Bill Bean said when it comes to bargaining down insurance costs, the city’s hands are pretty much tied since there are only three large insurance companies in the area willing to take on the city as a client.
“We are kind of at their mercy,” he said. “I think (Medical Mutual) is the best thing going for us.”
Labor deals approved
Council passed ordinances approving three-year contracts (Jan. 1, 2016, through Dec. 31, 2018) between the city and Urbana Police Division patrol officers, as well as the city and the sergeants at the UPD.
Brugger said this is the first time both units at the UPD have negotiated jointly, and after six negotiation sessions, the city’s management team reached a tentative agreement with the Urbana Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) on Dec. 17, 2015, and both collective bargaining agreements were ratified by the FOP/Ohio Labor Council Inc. on Jan. 5.
As a result of the contracts being approved by council, patrol officers and sergeants will receive base wage increases of 1.25 percent in each year of the contract. With the 2016 wage increase, a patrol officer in his or her first year with the UPD will earn a yearly salary of $39,557.12 ($19.02 per hour), while a first-year sergeant with the division will take home $60,620.71 a year ($29.14 per hour).
Brugger added the contracts include an increase of $50 in the annual allowance for uniforms to $900 and language allowing for an additional personal day for employees who don’t use sick leave in a 12-month calendar year.
“It was a good effort by everyone, and I think it’s a fair contract,” Brugger said.
In other business:
•Council heard the first reading of a resolution that would allow Brugger to prepare and submit an application to participate in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program.
Brugger said a party is interested in possibly building a set of T-hangars at Grimes Field. If the city were to be awarded grant funds, it would be used to extend taxiway C.
Extending the taxiway, Brugger said, would help relieve congestion and provide a path to the proposed T-hangars.
•Brugger informed citizens that information on the curbside community cleanup event set for April 12-15 will be included in the March utility bills.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-652-1331 (ext. 1774) or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.