Covington budget gets first reading

House razing discussed

By Jim Painter

For the Troy Daily News

COVINGTON — Village officials here held the first reading on a 2017 operating budget of more than $5.6 million on Tuesday. A budget that includes several construction projects funded in part by state and federal grant monies, and local taxes.

Village Administrator Mike Busse told the village council that the construction of a portion of a new Waste Water Treatment Plant at $1.3 million tops all projects. A good portion of the budget is geared towards the village’s water supply, street maintenance and repairs, and maintaining safety services.

On the income ledger, Busse reported an estimated $4,813,985 would be received. In all, the operating budget totaled $5,654,741.

Discussion opened with the 2016 year-end figures. Busse said the total carryover balance was $1,293,204. The largest carryover account was the General Fund with $468,743. The Sewer Fund carried a balance of $277,893 with the Water Fund finishing at $264,582.

The estimated income includes $810,000 from income taxes, $255,000 from property taxes, and $1.36 million from the utility funds, water, sewer, and trash. Another $1.45 million in grants for the sewer plant was also noted.

For expenditures, operating and maintenance costs topped the list at $4,066,100. That figure includes $2.15 million for sewer, $403,900 for streets, and $633,400 for water.

Police department costs are projected at $488,750. It includes the planned purchase a new police cruiser at an estimated cost of $45,000 payable over three years.

A budget of $227,500 is anticipated for operating the local fire department and emergency medical service.

Busse reiterated that not all figures on the budget calculation are local tax dollars. The village must indicate on the report receiving, and spending, state and federal dollars received in grants.

Bids for the first phase construction of a new ultra violet light disinfectant pumping station at the wastewater plant will be opened Feb. 21. The project is an estimated $1.3 million.

Plans are to upgrade the South End lift station with lift pumps and a new control panel and the School lift station a new control panel; and add telemetry to the Broadway lift station. The projects will be funded with a zero percent loan of $150,000.

The cost for the 2017 sidewalk replacement program is not to exceed $50,000. Some 16 properties will receive sidewalk, curb, and approach improvements. Selected properties along South Pearl and South High streets will be improved.

From the Street Fund, a street resurfacing plan for grinding and repaving Debra Street from Chestnut to Broad; Chestnut Street from Debra to Wenrick; and Ullery Street from Chestnut to Broadway are planned.

High Street house razing now a court issue

Village leaders agreed to let the judicial process play out regarding the removal of a dilapidated house at 137 N. High St. However, if the owner refuses to comply with orders to remove the property, Village Solicitor Frank Patrizio plans to ask county prosecutors to forego any plea agreements. The move could involve jail time.

The property owned by John E. Longnecker of Laura is considered a safety hazard by the Miami County Health Board, who is prosecuting the case. Previously, the village deemed the property “structurally unsafe and a hazard” including necessary asbestos mitigation. The property is reportedly leaning on neighbor’s homes and causing damage to their properties.

On Tuesday, Patrizio told council members the pretrial conference for the case is set for Feb. 2. He reported at Longnecker’s arraignment the defendant asked not to go to jail. Patrizio said the pretrial part of the case is usually where negotiating a settlement agreement is held.

He stated that if Longnecker refuses to comply, and have a signed contract for demolition, he would ask prosecutors to proceed with full charges and penalties imposed with no leniency.

In December, bids were open from contractors to clear the property and add to cost to Lonecker’s property taxes. The best bid, which was $24,704, which included an approximately $11,000 asbestos mitigation. No bid will be awarded until the matter is settled in court.

Water Plant bids get advertising okay

Also, Village Administrator Mike Busse was given the okay to bid out the $1.3 million portion for construction of the Waste Water Treatment Plant Phase I Improvement Project. Council voted to waive the three-reading rule on the measure.

The upgrade will include a new ultra violet light disinfectant pumping station. Busse reported with design and engineering costs could increase the project to $1.5 million.

The bids will be opened Feb. 21 at 10 a.m. at the village office.

Busse informed council that he would be attending a meeting in Dayton this week regarding the $2.9 million High Street reconstruction project scheduled for 2022. He projected the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) would still rank the work high on their list.

The village’s portion for the project is estimated at $1.42 million. Funding plans include seeking grants with ODOT and the Ohio Public Works Commission. Busse also spoke of the possibility of Issue 2 state money available in the future.

In other business, council:

• Approved the purchase of 75 water meters from Buckeye State Pipe of Chillicothe at a cost of $15, 540.

• Hired Heidi Denlinger as part-time custodian for the government center at a rate of $8.47 per hour.

• Rescheduled their second February meeting due to President’s Day. The meeting will be held on Feb. 21 at 7 p.m.

• Held a second reading entering an agreement with the Ohio Attorney General for the collection of delinquent income taxes.

• Approved the bid from J&J Stampworks, LLC, for the concrete for the High Street patio. The bid total was $5,460.

House razing discussed