PIQUA — The Piqua City Commission passed several measures during their meeting on Tuesday, including authorizing a purchase order to Compass Minerals America, Inc. for the purchase of road salt for the street department. The cost will be at a rate of $89.69 per ton, which was higher than last year’s rate of $49.88.
The street department estimated their usage of 2,500 tons for the bid, bringing their possible total price to approximately $224,225. According to the resolution, the street department is required to purchase at least 2,000 tons during the season, which would cost approximately $179,380.
Brian Brookhart the Assistant Public Works director said of the price increase, “It’s certainly not as expensive as it has been in the past, but it’s still a lot more than we paid last year.”
The commission then passed a vote on awarding a contract to Tree Care, Inc. for the 2018 annual tree removal, pruning, and emergency tree removal. Their work will include removing trees, including ash trees and hazard trees, along with annual pruning and emergency tree removals, such as in the event of a high wind storm. The cost is not to exceed $40,000.
When asked why Tree Care Inc. was chosen over the less-expensive Blade Cutters, City Engineer Amy Havenar explained, “As part of our bids last year, we put they had to have a certified arborist on staff. And there were a couple other issues that blade cutters could not comply with. They did not have all the equipment that was needed in case of an emergency, but the biggest issue was the certified arborist because then you have the safety practices that follow. The one they had listed did not even work for the company when we did references so they did not comply with our specs.”
Following that, the commission passed a vote on authorizing the city manager to enter into an agreement with LJB, Inc. for the environmental services for the Great Miami River Trail Bridge project. The cost is not to exceed $89,900. The city is receiving $300,000 of funding from the state’s capital budget for this project, which includes replacing this pedestrian bridge.
The Staunton Street Solar Field reappeared on the commission’s agenda and a vote was passed in order to clear up an error with the south property line. The solar field is now interconnected to Piqua’s electric system operating as a renewable energy source, but the construction survey identified an error with the south property line that is contrary to the intent of the city of Piqua and CAP Industries concerning the property swap previously approved by the commission.
According to the new resolution, the city shall deed an additional 0.138-acre property strip along the project’s south border as part the transfer that was previously approved by the commission. There is no cost to the city for this action.
The commission voted and passed a quitclaim deed for inlets on a nine-foot section on Roosevelt Street, which includes a gap between the the former Conrail Railroad right-of-way that the city owns and the adjacent property, Fincel Door Company. The quitclaim deed will transfer any legal interest that the city may unknowingly have to this property to allow the owner of Fincel Door Company to sell the Fincel Door Company property.
The commission approved a vote on awarding a contract to Environmental Assurance Company, Inc. for the asbestos abatement project for Mo’s Lounge. The cost is not to exceed $210,000, which includes the bid amount of $204,900 and a $5,100 contingency amount. This project will be mostly funded through a U.S. EPA grant that will cover 71 percent of the cost at an estimated amount of $149,100. The city’s share will be approximately $60,900.
“This is one of the three catalytic projects that was identified as being critical to transforming this area and revitalizing the properties,” City Planner Chris Schmiesing said. “Subsequently, we have been successful in securing some USDA Brownfield Grant dollars to assist with the remediation work that needs done to this building to put it back into a condition where we can whitebox it, which is the expression that you will hear used, which means you are making it ready for an end user to come in and do the renovation work necessary to fit the billing out for a particular use.”
The commission also passed a grant application to the Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC). The amount will be for $200,000 for the replacement of 100 deteriorated catch basins. According to Janel Ranly, development program manager, the city will apply for the grant funding from OPWC for 200,000 dollars. The total project cost is $255,000 with the remaining $55,000 coming out of the city’s stormwater funds. “The project, if we receive the grant will be scheduled to start in 2019,” she said.
Power System Director Ed Krieger led the Staunton Solar Project update and explained the history of the project, which started two years ago. He showed pictures of the project throughout the years from acquiring and clearing the land to installing the racking and solar panel installation. He also noted that the panel installation was completely installed on June 14, and on June 28, the electrical infrastructure was completed and connected to the grid.
Discussion arose about the city’s “This Small Town” video, with Commissioner Kris Lee stating, “I just want to say to all the people that are involved, watched it, loved the song, love watching the video. I am very proud to say that I am from Piqua when I pass this on.
“On a more serious note, another complaint was the lack of diversity. Someone pointed out that Piqua has a 3 percent diverse African American population, yet it wasn’t very well-reflected.”
Civility was also brought up in the meeting by the commissioners. On this subject, Mayor Kazy Hinds said, “The most important thing is to be kind. And to remember that what you put out there, whether it be in a telephone call or whether you put it out there on Facebook, being kind is a gift not only to the people that you come in contact with but it’s also a gift to yourself.”
Rachel Hensley is a freelancer for the Piqua Daily Call and Troy Daily News.