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Capital Improvements Program moves forward

2/27/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Summit County Council’s Finance Committee recommended Council adopt the annual Capital Improvements Program after removing one item from the plan during the Feb. 24 meeting.

The legislation was amended to strike out $100,000 allotted for regional storm water/county ditches under Road and Bridge Improvements.

Jason Dodson, chief of staff for County Executive Russ Pry, said the item was removed because “there are questions relating to where the townships stand on the ordinance.”

“We’re waiting for the townships to say if they support or do not support this,” he said.

During discussion on the legislation in a previous committee meeting, Councilwoman Tamela Lee (D-District 5) questioned what the Engineer’s Office does with the amount after some residents in her district, in Copley, have asked for help with flooding problems.

Lee said residents who had major losses after heavy rains in the area have contacted her weekly as they seek a solution. She said the residents’ issues could be solved if their storm water ditches are cleaned, but because they are not in a subdivision that pays a maintenance fee, their problems have not been addressed.

Dodson said the regional storm water/county ditch funding would be reintroduced to Council as a separate piece of legislation later this year.

The committee recommended Council adopt the amended Capital Improvements Plan for 2014-19 and appropriate nearly $8.2 million for the 2014 Capital Improvements Plan.

The biggest single projects are the county’s Pavement Maintenance Program with $2.5 million appropriated and nearly $1.2 million for environmental improvements for the Department of Environmental Services.

During the Public Works Committee meeting, members recommended Council adopt a resolution confirming a contract with Quality Control Inspection for construction inspection services in 2014 at a cost not to exceed $100,000.

Heidi Swindell, of the Engineer’s Office, said the company has been used before. It provides inspection services when the Engineer’s Office does not have staff available.

She added that this year there will be an increased need for inspection services due to three major bridge projects and major paving projects.

The Health and Human Services Committee recommended Council adopt a resolution appropriating $190,000 in funds for the Department of Job and Family Services (DJFS). The money is what’s left of a grant to provide services to youths emancipating from foster care, according to Steve Zimmerman, of DJFS.

He added that 64 youths are receiving services such as case management. The program, which provides programs through Summit County Children Services and Goodwill Industries, has been provided for a year, Zimmerman said.

At the conclusion of committee meetings, Council President Ilene Shapiro (D-at large) noted the Expungement Clinic that took place at The University of Akron Feb. 22 had more than 180 attendees seeking information on clemency and the pardon process, child support, the Job Center, how to register for health benefits with the Affordable Health Care Act and local re-entry programs and services. Council members Lee and Paula Prentice (D-District 8) were among the local officials to host the event.

County Council will meet March 3 at 4:30 p.m. for caucus, followed by the regular meeting in Council Chambers on the seventh floor of the Ohio Building, located at 175 S. Main St. in Downtown Akron.

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