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New Franklin considering more road work

5/9/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

New Franklin city officials are considering doing more road improvement projects this year after hearing from Deputy Service Director Jeff Olson.

Olson spoke to Council at the May 1 New Franklin Council meeting about the immediate need to make road improvements on several streets. He told Council that in the past, the city budgeted $300,000 to $500,000 annually, which came from the General Fund, to do chip and seal or asphalt work on roads in the city’s annual maintenance program.

Last year, there was no money available for road maintenance due to decreasing revenue, and no paving work was done. Olson said that lack of maintenance is starting to show.

“Comet Road must be done because the right wheel track is being lost, and there are many small roads around the lakes that need work,” he said. “We have to do something. We are losing a lot of roads.”

Olson suggested doing some chip and seal work, which he said is about one-third the cost of asphalt, but lasts only two to three years instead of 10 to 12 years.

“The chip and seal product is much better than it used to be,” he added.

Olson also said if city officials choose to do more road maintenance, it can still piggy-back onto the Summit County paving program to get a better price for the work.

Mayor Al Bollas told Council he has discussed roadwork with Olson and suggested allocating $200,000 from the General Fund.

City Finance Director Susan Cooke recommended against it, adding that if all appropriations are spent, there will be no extra funds.

Cooke recently reported the city does have more than $3 million in carryover, according to the appropriations budget adopted weeks ago.

New Franklin Councilman Paul Adamson (Ward 1) suggested the chip and seal program could serve as a “stop-gap” measure to make some road improvements until the city is “more flush.”

Olson said he would put together a list of roads most in need of repair for Council to consider at the next meeting.

In other business, Council adopted two pieces of legislation, including: a resolution to amend the 2013 annual appropriations budget due to the omission of several line items, bringing the total to $11,948,908 from $11,885,708; and a resolution to file an application for a $8,419 grant from the Summit/Akron Solid Waste Management Authority to be used for recycling education, along with $3,456 left over from last year’s grant.

Also during the meeting, Olson reported that 986 tires were collected from roadside ditches recently, with 700 of them coming from Van Buren Road. It cost the city $2,070 to dispose of them, he added.

Councilwoman Judy Jones (at large) shared information on efforts to tape and broadcast Council meetings. City officials stopped taping the meetings for broadcast on the Time Warner Cable community access channel several years ago when that company refused to broadcast them without significant cost increases, according to city officials.

Bollas stated he has not received many calls about the Council meetings no longer being televised.

Jones told city officials Council meetings can be taped for $150 per meeting and placed on the website, allowing residents to watch them.

Councilman Terry Harget (Ward 2) suggested that would “leave the elderly out since they don’t have computers.”

City officials are continuing to review the issue, and the person who would record the meetings may be asked to a future Council meeting to discuss the matter.

Jones also announced anyone needing to purchase bags for the bag service offered through the city’s trash aggregation program with Republic Waste can do so from her place of business, High Fashion Beauty Salon, located at 927 W. Nimisila Road, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The next regular New Franklin Council meeting will take place May 15 starting at 6 p.m. with committee meetings and followed by the regular meeting at City Hall, 5611 Manchester Road.

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