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Committee moves forward on bridge load changes

10/18/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

DOWNTOWN AKRON — A Summit County Council committee moved forward Oct. 15 to recommend changing the load rating on two local bridges until they can be repaired.

The Public Works Committee recommended Council approve an ordinance that amends the county’s bridge load ratings ordinance to impose a 25-ton load limit on the Riverview Road bridge over Furnace Run in Cuyahoga Falls and to impose a 40-ton load limit on the Wright Road bridge over Pigeon Creek in Copley, as recommended by County Engineer Alan Brubaker’s office.

Heidi Swindell, of the Engineer’s Office, said the changes would mean the Riverview Road bridge would be at 60 percent of its full capacity, while the Wright Road bridge would see just a 10 percent reduction in its load limit. She added that Engineer’s Office staff is evaluating both bridges for fixes that can be done in-house to bring the bridges back to their full load limits.

Swindell also updated the committee on emergency repairs to the Akron-Peninsula Road bridge over Robinson Run, which had its load limit reduced by Council two weeks earlier. She said Kenmore Construction’s bid of $180,000 for the project would be before the Board of Control next week.

Also Monday, the Rules Committee recommended Council adopt a resolution authorizing County Executive Russ Pry to execute a settlement agreement for all claims arising from two lawsuits regarding the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District.

Law Director Deborah Matz said one lawsuit was in Summit County Common Pleas Court and the other was in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. The Summit County case was on hold until the Cuyahoga County case was completed, she said.

“It went to trial, and the judge made a decision that Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District had the authority [to charge homeowners in the district a fee] and left it to the communities to settle as to how it would work,” Matz said.

In the West Side Leader coverage area, Richfield Village remains in the district, but Matz said if Summit County comes up with a plan of its own, the village can leave the district and join the county’s plan.

Also Monday, the Planning and Economic Development Committee recommended Council adopt an ordinance that would allow the county’s Executive, Fiscal and Engineer offices to execute a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to consolidate the county’s various geographic information systems (GIS) functions under one department.

Each of those offices, plus the Department of Environmental Services (DOES), uses the services of GIS staffers for similar duties, said Jason Dodson, chief of staff for the Executive’s Office. By consolidating their functions into one department, the county hopes to see savings of about $180,000, Dodson said.

The new department would be called the Planning and Geographic Information Systems Division, and it would be based in the Executive’s Department of Development, according to the MOU. If approved by Council, the changes would be effective Nov. 1, according to the legislation.

In other business, the Public Safety Committee recommended Council adopt a resolution authorizing the renewal of agreements with communities using the Summit County Sheriff’s direct indictment officer services, including Akron, Copley and Norton. The five-year contracts cost the communities $345,191 annually, according to the legislation, which pays the salaries and benefits for four full-time and three part-time officers.

Also Monday, the Finance Committee began its annual budget hearings in anticipation of the county’s budget process for 2013. Representatives from Consumer Affairs, DOES and the Soil and Water Conservation District presented.

Summit County Council will next meet Oct. 22 at 5 p.m. for caucus and 5:05 p.m. for its regular meeting in Council Chambers on the seventh floor of the Ohio Building, 175 S. Main St.

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