Covington Council approves water tower maintenance

By Sam Wildow -

COVINGTON — Covington Council approved entering into a contract with Utility Service Group for water tower maintenance on Monday. The maintenance will be applied to the 100,000-gallon riveted elevated water tank located at Maple and Ludlow.

“My biggest concern on this older tower is it’s had several different paint jobs over the years,” Village Administrator Mike Busse said, adding that there are unknown quality and adhesion issues with the current paint on the tower. The tower also has a grease or wax lining inside of it.

“If you’re building a new tower today, the EPA won’t allow you to put that kind of coating in it,” Busse said, explaining that the village will have to remove that wax lining and paint it with an epoxy coating.

“If you don’t do it right … that paint’s not going to adhere,” Busse said, adding that the village is looking for a long-term solution to the maintenance of this tower.

Daryl Bowling of Utility Service Group was present to explain the maintenance program. He discussed the differences between the traditional low bid process with what Utility Service Group provides, which is an asset management model. Bowling stated that the traditional low bid process has a 40 percent failure rate where the responsibility falls back on the municipality.

“It’s always cheaper to have preventative maintenance than to try to recover something from failure,” Bowling said.

The asset management model is in compliance with the Ohio Revised Code. It can be done as a professional service where the village can request for quotation (RFQ) or request for proposal (RFP).

This water tower maintenance program includes all engineering, all permitting required by the Ohio EPA, 100 percent compliance with the Ohio Revised Code, prevailing wages, a new exterior overcoat completed every 10 years, interior coating every 13 years, 100 percent warranty of all work and coatings, and emergency services. The emergency services include if there is vandalism to the tower, such as spray paint or bullet holes, and fixing any leaks.

Utility Service Group will be applying two overcoats to the exterior of the tank at Maple and Ludlow. They will then remove the wax lining on the inside of it and give it an epoxy coating. They will also do other tasks and repairs.

“We can’t cut a corner because we’re ultimately responsible,” Bowling said.

The cost of the program is $73,017 per year until the seventh year. After year six, the cost drops and includes: $29,017 for year seven; $30,044 for year eight; $31,107 for year nine; and $32,209 for year 10. Other municipalities that participate in a water maintenance program with Utility Service Group include Piqua, Vandalia, Troy, Urbana, Botkins, and Greenville.

The council also held the first reading of two ordinances that will put the option of opting into electric an gas aggregation programs on the Nov. 8 ballot. Covington residents will ultimately get to decide if the village enters into these programs.

Busse and Mayor Ed McCord attended a meeting with Affordable Gas and Electric (AGE) to discuss the electric and gas aggregations. Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst also attended the meeting, explaining Sidney’s choice to choose AGE to manage their entire aggregation process. Busse stated that Sidney will be given an electricity supply rate with a 25 percent discount to DP&L’s utility supply rate.

“Aggregation is the ultimate in customer choice,” Busse said. “Residents vote to negotiate bulk electricity rates. Once a rate is established, they can opt out.”

“I think it’s a good deal,” McCord said, adding that he felt it was something they should do in order to give residents an opportunity to have lower gas and electric rates.

Council also informally decided to accept a donation of land from Jane Sellman near Sellman’s Furniture Store to create a sitting area in the downtown. McCord stated that Covington’s Chamber of Commerce was open to the idea.

“I think it was very well received,” McCord said.

“I’m in favor of it,” council member Scott Tobias said. “I think it’s a good idea.”

Council member Bud Weer agreed.

“I think it’s a good idea if we don’t have to spend the money,” council member Lois Newman said.

Busse mentioned a total estimated cost of $7,600 for the project. The council’s hope is that other downtown businesses and village residents might donate to complete the project rather than using village funds.

Council will formally vote on accepting the land donation during their next meeting.

Council also held the first reading of a resolution to purchase a M2-106 Freightliner chassis from Stoops Freightliner through the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) state purchasing program contract and lease the chassis through TCF Financing for $86,352. Council member Lois Newman voted against waiving the three-reading rule for the resolution, so it will undergo two more readings before being put to a vote.

Council also completed the following in their meeting:

• Held the first reading of an ordinance to approve the proposed zoning map amendment

• Waived the three-reading rule and approved Covington participating in the state of Ohio cooperative purchasing program

• Waived the three-reading rule and approved entering into a contract with Woodhull for copier services

• Waived the three-reading rule and approved renewing the village employee health insurance program through an alternate program through Anthem, which will reportedly reduce the village’s health insurance cost for the next 12 months by approximately $8,000

• Approved the purchase of 75 water meters from Buckeye State Pipe for the cost of $15,354

• Approved the Memorial Day parade route, which will begin at 1 p.m. at Walnut Street, then head north

• Set an informal auction for Paul’s Pizza equipment for 10 a.m. May 14

• Stated the city of St. Mary’s Department of Taxation will be at the Covington Municipal Building, 1 S. High St., from 1-4 p.m. Thursday to discuss the village income tax with residents

By Sam Wildow

Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall

Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall