PIQUA — A Piqua man spoke out during the public comment portion of the Piqua City Commission meeting Tuesday to address the ongoing topic of the CSX railroad bridge, urging the commission not spend $200,000 to have it painted.
“I just think that’s a big waste of money,” Phillip Mong said. “That’s their bridge. They should maintain it. If you got $240,000 laying around, fix my street. I can see giving corporate welfare to companies that provide jobs, but they’re doing nothing for us besides running the trains through here.” Mong added that he had support from neighbors who also objected to spending taxpayer money to paint the bridge.
The possibility of painting the bridge, which extends over Ash Street, was discussed during the previous meeting, when the commission approved a bid contract with APBN Inc. to paint the bridge at a cost of $221,000 — which includes a 10 percent contingency — pending an agreement with CSX by a vote of 3-2. Commissioners John Martin and Bill Vogt voted against the amended resolution awarding the contract.
The commission did not approve an agreement with CSX during their last meeting nor was it brought up during Tuesday’s meeting. There are a couple of issues the city is still attempting to discuss with CSX. CSX declined to disclose where there have been any known environmental issues at the site within the last five years. CSX is also putting full liability costs on the city, including if an incident occurs due to CSX’s own negligence.
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, the commission and Mayor Kazy Hinds honored the late James Henderson, who served as a Piqua commissioner from 1976-1979, mayor from 1978-1979, and street superintendent from March 1985 to November 1999.
“The city of Piqua would like to offer our condolences to the family of James Henderson,” Hinds said. “And we would like to thank his family for his service to the city.”
Members of Henderson’s family were present to accept a proclamation declaring Aug. 16, 2016, James Henderson Day in Piqua.
Vogt shared the impact Henderson had on him when he campaigned for a commission seat and was elected. “He guided me through it,” Vogt said. “He never told me how to vote, but he told me where to look.”
Jim Hemmert, president of Bike Piqua, then awarded Silver Pedal Awards to those who biked the longest distance during Bike to Work Week.
Artie Parker of Parker’s Mobility Sport Shop won in the small business category with just over 127 miles, burning 6,900 calories and saving $115 on gas expenses. Mark Spoltman represented Hartzell Propeller as the large business winner, which clocked in 430 miles, burned over 23,000 calories, and saved $387 on gas. Georgia Hertenstein of Piqua Catholic School represented the school, which was honored for biking 1,110 miles, burning 60,000 calories, and saving $1,000. Michael Treon, who rode over 682 miles, logged the most miles in the city.
“Cycling has become an alternative means of transportation for short trips around the city,” Hemmert said. “Cycling is good exercise and provides clean air and is healthy and the city of Piqua is a contributor.”
Commission approved additional expenses and new contracts for the New Central Zone Water Tower Project, and pointed out that some bids for the project came under the engineer’s estimated costs.
First, the commission approved an increase of $13,000 to the contract with Strand Associates, Inc., who was authorized in June 2013 to engineer and design a new water tower and a water main extension to connect the tower to the current water distribution system, which will be on Fox Drive, with the new water main being installed along Drake Road. Two small water towers on Spring Street and South Main Street will also be demolished.
The city needed Strand Associates to do more work on the city’s Capability Assurance Plan, which was necessary in order to apply for the Water Supply Revolving Loan Account (WSRLA) loan with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. For those additional services, that portion of the contract increased to a total of $40,000.
The commission then approved applying for a loan of nearly $3.4 million to fund the construction of the new water tower and the water main extension. The loan rates will be set monthly between 1.4 up to 2.56 percent interest. The term will be between 20-30 years. The city has also been awarded a $1.075 million Ohio Public Works Commission Grant to help fund the project.
• Preliminary consent to award a contract to Chicago Bridge and Iron Company (CB&I) for the construction of the new water tower for $3.3 million, which includes a 13 percent contingency. The engineer’s estimate for this portion of the project was around $3.9 million.
• Preliminary consent to award a contract to GM Pipeline Inc. for the Drake Road water line extension in an amount not to exceed $726,000, which includes a 13 percent contingency. The engineer’s estimate for this portion of the project was around $1 million.
• Preliminary consent to award a contract to Strand Associates for the construction administration for the Drake Road water line extension at a cost not to exceed $82,000, and for the construction of the water tower at a cost not to exceed $178,000. Each of these also include contingencies.
All of these pieces of consent legislation are required by WSRLA before approving the loan for the project.
Commission authorized a contract with American Municipal Power, Inc. to participate in AMP’s solar energy project. It is estimated this will lower the city’s power supply cost by $490,000 annually. The expenditure is expected to be up to 3.5 percent of Piqua’s current annual energy needs.
Commissioners also authorized an agreement with Pros Consulting Inc. to prepare a Comprehensive Parks Master Plan, which will help be a guide for improvements to the parks as well as help with programming and services, at a cost of $74,940, funded through the city’s Parks Fund.
The commission established 6-8 p.m. Oct. 31, as “Trick or Treat/Beggars’ Night” in Piqua.
Reach Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336