Powell City Council approved an ordinance Tuesday awarding a $744,495 bid to Columbus Asphalt Paving, Inc. for road repairs as part of the City’s 2020 Road Maintenance and Repair Program.
The base bid, which totals $353,076, includes the mill and overlay of Liberty Ridge Avenue, Payne’s Depot Court, Welwyn Drive, Shale Ridge Court, Valley Run Place, Hopewell Court, and a portion of Beech Ridge Drive. Also included is the restoration of the Scioto Street and Liberty Street intersection, installation of a concrete apron at the alley entrance across from 44 N. Liberty St., and the mill and overlay of Sycamore Ridge Drive, Grey Oaks Drive, Wallsend Court and Oakham Court.
All mill and overlay work includes various curb repair, storm structure repair, and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) curb ramps.
City Engineer Chris Huber said the roads selected for the program were chosen based on need.
“The base bid, in general, is our worst streets … The alternates chosen are close by and just a step up, not quite as critical (as the base bid),” he said.
Huber added he felt the improvements to the intersection of Scioto and Liberty streets is critical due to subsurface piping that is failing, and he would like to be proactive with that project.
A large chunk of the funding — approximately $400,000 — for the program will come from savings the city received on the bid for the Sawmill Parkway resurfacing project, which was approved in late April.
Councilman Tom Counts pointed out there was no street maintenance program last year as the city was saving dollars for the Sawmill Parkway resurfacing, and the roads listed in the proposed 2020 Street Maintenance and Repair Program would have been addressed last year in the program had that not been the case.
“We’ve now found out that we have money from Sawmill Parkway (leftover), and so, in my mind, it’s appropriate that we should try to do these roads that should have been done last year,” Counts told council. “It’s only going to get worse, we all know that.”
Not all council members were on board with approving the project, at least not before further consideration was given to the ordinance. Vice Mayor Dan Swartwout said he is “exceedingly uncomfortable” with the proposal, especially when it has yet to be vetted by any of the city’s subcommittees.
“Ever since I’ve been on council, we’ve talked about how there was less and less money for these types of repairs,” Swartwout said. “And if you look at the amount of money we have spent over the last few years, and you look at the projections going forward, we were told that at one point, there would be no money to make any street repairs.
“To have such a sudden reverse of course from what we’ve been told for four or five years to doing the most expansive street repair and maintenance program that we have undertaken since I’ve been on council … at a time when we still don’t know the economic impacts of dwindling revenues and fewer tax dollars. We don’t know where this city’s financial position is going to be in four months. Yet, we have decided to make a sudden reverse course from what our practice has been over the last few years without any vetting at all at a committee level.”
City Manager Andrew White said that given the uncertainty of the future revenues as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, particularly with a potential shortfall in revenue from the gas tax, now is the time to undergo such a project when the city knows it has the funds in place.
Mayor Frank Bertone said the city has often “kicked the can down the road,” but with the additional $400,000 in savings from the Sawmill Parkway project being dedicated to the program, it eases the burden of the $745,000 total figure.
“The roads that are identified in the base bid and various other locations, these are pain points,” Bertone said. “We’ve put ourselves in this situation where we have these awkward conversations about spending money on an investment in our community. It’s imperative that we do so. We all know that. It may seem painful looking at $745,000, but to know that $400,000 is coming from an alternate source, that’s 53% of this budget that we didn’t plan for and here it is.”
The ordinance passed with a 6-1 vote, Swartwout being the lone council member to vote against the ordinance.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.