By: Jesse Davis
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
The rubber is finally ready to hit the road for the transportation phase of several projects in Swanton.
During Monday’s meeting of the Swanton Village Council, Village Administrator Shannon Shulters said the road reconstruction phase of the mandated sewer separation project is gearing up to move forward.
The projects – referred to as projects 3, 11, and 12 – cover portions of St. Richards Court, Brookside Drive, Hickory Street, Oak Street, Elm Street, Maple Street, Birch Street, Forrester, Avenue South Main Street, and Airport Highway. “There is going to be a lot of construction,” Shulters said.
The cost for the roadwork is estimated to be $3.8 million. While the Village has already obtained loan funding for the work, a grant proposal was also submitted in April to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) to help recoup costs. Fiscal Officer Holden Benfield said he expects to hear back on that proposal between now and October.
Bids for the work were opened on August 1, but a contractor has not yet been selected.
One potential project drew audible groans from several in attendance. According to Shulters, the Ohio Department of Transportation has analyzed traffic at the intersection of Munson Road/County Road 2 and Airport Highway/US 20 Alternate and is now proposing a roundabout at that location.
Of the total $1.2 million cost of that project, the village’s portion would be roughly $350,000.
The village has its own upcoming project to repair Munson Road. Shulters said the timeline for that project is to request bids in February 2024, award a contract in March, and begin construction in April.
In addition to the projects brought up by Village representatives, several members of the Ashberry Farms neighborhood attended the meeting in order to deliver a petition containing 60 signatures demanding the repair of their roads.
“The current state of the roads is unacceptable and poses a danger to drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists alike,” the petition reads.
“Potholes, cracks, and uneven surfaces make it difficult to navigate the neighborhood safely. The weeds in the cracks are unsightly.”
Resident Alan Bonifas spoke on behalf of the group. He told Mayor Neil Toeppe he had once been told by a city official that a list of road projects and the order in which they were to be addressed existed and what, at that time, their place had been on that list.
Toeppe agreed to locate the list, determine where the neighborhood’s streets fell on it, and reach back out to Bonifas.
He said the sewer separation project had eaten up a lot of the Village’s road dollars but that they were now starting to see opportunities to get that work going again.
MAYOR/COUNCIL PAY INCREASE
Mayor Toeppe cast the deciding vote after the four present council members split on the issue of raises for the mayor and council.
Council members Patrick Messenger and David Pilliod voted in favor, while Samantha Disbrow and Council President Dianne Westhoven voted against the measure.
Council members Mike Disbrow and Derek Kania were absent, but in the past spoke generally from opposite positions on the issue, so their absence is unlikely to have affected the outcome.
Now that the measure has passed, the mayor’s annual pay will increase from $5,520 to $9,600 plus a $400 expense account and council members’ pay will increase from $3,000 to $4,800. The increases will occur for each seat individually as elections are held for them.
FIRE CHIEF RESIGNS
The council accepted the resignation of Fire Chief Ed Dziengelewski effective Aug. 30. Details on the announcement were sparse, other than the indication that the council was made aware of the correct effective end date by their attorney.
A personnel report for the council meeting had indicated the resignation would be effective July 28.
The council also accepted the resignation of a part-time firefighter and approved the hiring of a new part-time firefighter/EMT.
The council voted to appropriate $130,000 to cover the purchase of the property at 419 S. Main St. The property has already been purchased and paid at a cost of $129,329.94, but the funding had not yet been appropriated.
The council voted to enter into an agreement with Earl Mechanical Services for HVAC services.
The council approved the submission of a grant request to the Gary Sinise Foundation’s First Responders Outreach program.
The meeting ended with the council voting to go into executive session.
Jesse can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org