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Frigid weather comes with cost for Fairlawn Service Department

2/6/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

The colder-than-typical temperatures this winter have come with a financial element for the city of Fairlawn.

During the Feb. 3 Fairlawn City Council meeting, Deputy Service Director Ernie Staten detailed the additional costs incurred so far this winter.

“We’re up $70,000 over last year, and we spent the majority of the money on 1,000 pounds of salt more than last year and 455 more overtime hours for my crew,” he said.

Staten, who explained the city typically considers the winter season to run from November through March, said last year’s winter was considered to be “an average year.”

“We’re up this year, and the cold has helped out with that,” he stated. “We’ve only had about 50 inches of snow, and typically that’s not too hard to handle, but with the cold to go along with it, that’s been a little more difficult. We’ve had to use a lot more salt.”

According to Staten, the cost of salt for the city is almost $50 per ton.

“Multiply that times a thousand, and that’s $50,000 all by itself,” he said. “And then you add the overtime. The guys have worked almost 500 hours of overtime, so there’s a cost incurred there also. I would say that we are pushing a thousand hours that they’ve been out in [snow plows].”

In addition, Staten said, there have been 24 water breaks during the winter, a number he called “well above average.”

“We typically only have about 10 a year,” he said. “It’s wreaking havoc on our concrete out there.”

Staten defined a water break as a breaking of a mainline on the roadway.

“It’s affecting homes and businesses, but usually not for very long,” he said. “The city of Akron repairs them fairly quickly.”

Repairing one break usually calls for three slabs of concrete, Staten said.

“That’s a lot of concrete we’re going to have to replace,” he said. “The city of Akron takes care of the waterline, and then we will come back in the spring or summer and restore the top, whether that’s someone’s yard or the concrete or a driveway or the road itself.”

Also during the meeting:

  • Council unanimously passed an ordinance approving a contract between the city of Fairlawn and IAFF local 4164 representing the city’s full-time fire/medics and full-time fire/medics holding the rank of lieutenant retroactive to Jan. 1.
    “This is a three-year contract, with a 2 percent raise in the first two years and the medical remaining the same,” said Mayor William Roth. “In the third year, there is a [wage] re-opener.”
    Law Director Ed Riegler said the two sides reached agreement on the terms more than two weeks ago and “have been working on the language ever since.”
    An ordinance “amending and/or supplementing [Fairlawn’s] wage and salary plan” also was unanimously approved by Council. Roth said this ordinance affects the city’s nonunion employees.
    “We try to mirror the nonbargaining with the bargaining units, and they will receive the 2 percent raises for the first two years,” he said.
    In addition, Riegler said, the city has been involved in “negotiating sessions with various bargaining units” during the past two weeks.
    “I have another scheduled for later this week, and things are progressing normally,” he said.
  • The bids have been opened for Fairlawn’s 2014 street repair program, Roth said.
    “The engineer’s estimate was originally $1.4 million for this year’s road program,” he said. “The low bid was by Liberta Construction Co., which bid $1.213 million.”
    Seven bids were entered for the work this year, according to Roth, and the other bids were put in by the following companies: Perrin Asphalt Co., $1.24 million; Karvo Paving Co., $1.34 million; Tri Mor Corp., $1.36 million; Wenger Excavating Inc., $1.39 million; Fabrizi Trucking & Paving Co. Inc., $1.49 million; and Lockhart Concrete Co., $1.5 million.
    The ordinance was given a first reading only, with no further action taken by Council during the meeting.
  • Council unanimously passed a resolution authorizing the mayor to enter into an agreement with Summit County for the milling and repaving of Ridgewood Road from the Interstate 77 right-of-way west to South Cleveland-Massillon Road.
    “This resolution is necessary at this time so that we can bring it to the county to complete our negotiations,” Roth said. “Hopefully they can get it in their budget so we can get this matter done this year.”
    The resolution states Fairlawn is committing to “provide its approximate proportionate share,” which is listed at 43 percent of the construction project cost.
    “We don’t have a set price yet. We’re still negotiating with the county engineer,” the mayor said. “We’re still trying to see if we can do it this year.”

The next Council meeting is set for Feb. 24 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 3487 S. Smith Road. The next Committee-of-the-Whole meeting is set for Feb. 10 at 6 p.m. in City Hall.

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