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Norton Council reviewing 2012 road program

3/29/2012 - West Side Leader
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By John Benson

At the beginning of the Norton City Council meeting March 26, Councilman and Service Committee Chairman Todd Bergstrom (Ward 1) said the city was one step closer to finalizing its preventive maintenance road schedule for 2012.

“When it’s all done, the budget is $401,000,” Bergstrom said. “What we need to do is next meeting get this set up. Not only have the legislation drafted, but to go out for bids with this list of quantities.”

Bergstrom said the current breakdown is as follows: $49,000 for crack seal, $69,000 for micro-surface overlay, $86,000 for spot repair mill and fill, $130,000 for chip seal and $72,000 for full-depth repair. The list of streets will be finalized soon.

After City Council Vice President Ken Braman (Ward 4) discussed the March 15 Utilities Committee meeting, where the topics of conversation revolved around the anticipated Nash Heights sewer project and the replacement of the temporary waterline on Norton Avenue between Long Drive and 17th Street, Bergstrom addressed the public regarding his recent attendance at a town hall meeting.

“It’s kind of disturbing when you’re trying to do the right thing and [the public is] not thinking you’re doing the right thing,” Bergstrom said. “At the Utilities Committee meeting, we’re getting answers to questions that residents have and Council has. We’re taking it slow and easy on the Nash Heights sewer. I went to [Ward 3 Councilman Bill] Mowery’s town meeting, and it wasn’t promoted that we’re trying to get answers. They started asking for money for costs associated with legal fees and fliers.

“If people would listen, we’re trying to get these answers and they might save money themselves,” he added. “I was upset I saw residents getting mislead by half-truths. I really want the residents of Nash Heights to pay attention to the Utilities Committee, pay attention and make sure you hear us finding out those answers. And then if we’re not getting those answers, go to your Councilperson. ... We gave ourselves a two-month period to try to find those answers and that’s what we’re going to try to do.”

As for the temporary waterline on Norton Avenue, the issue ended up being the focus of an ordinance Council passed on emergency with a 6-0 vote. Councilman Dennis McGlone (at large) had an excused absence.

“This is to replace a 50-year-old temporary waterline,” Braman said. “We’d like to waive the second and third readings because construction season is here and this needs to be done.”

The section of road may require assessments by affected homeowners; however, Braman said such a cost couldn’t be determined until the city received bids for the project.

Bergstrom questioned whether Council should wait for the bids.

“Going out for bids, you know where we stand, what needs to be done and the approximate costs,” said Councilman Scott Pelot (at large).

Councilwoman Charlotte Whipkey (at large) added, “In this case, these people have waited quite some time to have this problem alleviated, and they really need to get it taken care of because it was quite a mess last time it broke.”

In other business:

• Mayor Mike Zita said the new basketball courts located across from Norton City Hall were open for use, with landscaping yet to come.

Zita also mentioned two pavilions and tennis courts in the park now have lights that can be turned on and off.

“All I’m asking of residents when they’re now using the lights, kindly turn them off [when finished] to save energy,” Zita said.

• At the end of the roughly 45-minute meeting, Pelot questioned whether the city has any recourse against the contractor regarding recent construction work done on Greenridge Road where the storm sewers are starting to crack.

Finance Director John Moss said he’ll have city engineers take a look at it.

“Can we put measures in place that will hold a contactor liable for things like this in the future?” Pelot asked.

Law Director Peter Kostoff answered by saying, “Everything you can hold a contractor to are within the parameters of bid specifications. If it’s not in there, it’s far more difficult to get recourse.”

The notion of spending money for a proper inspection of a roadway prior to construction to alleviate any surprises later was suggested by Bergstrom.

The next Council meeting is set for April 9 at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers at the Safety-Administration Building, 4060 Columbia Woods Drive.

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