Record Herald Writer
Courtesy of the Record Herald; Printed 3.10.13

TIPP CITY – Passing two resolutions that authorize the spending of about $5 million, city council awarded the contracts for two of 2013’s biggest construction projects.

The contract for the Main Street reconstruction project was awarded to Double Jay Construction, the lowest bidder. Their bid for the project was $3,283,179, which is within the $3,380,000 budgeted by the city.

But including potential alternates and incentives, as well as the city’s purchase of street lights and wiring, the estimated cost of the project exceeds the budget by almost $80,000. Finance director John Green assured council that there are sufficient funds in the water, sewer, and CIP funds to cover the additional costs.

“The bids and other ancillary items exceed the budget by about $80,000,” City Manager Jon Crusey explained. “It’s close, but close in the wrong direction.”

Incentives of $1,000 per day were built into the project for each day that the entire streetscape project is completed ahead of the Oct. 15 deadline, up to $30,000. Crusey said at an earlier meeting that it was unlikely that the project would be complete a month ahead of schedule.

One of the alternates that council discussed was the excavation of the bricks underneath Main Street. Council president John Kessler brought up the preservation of the bricks at an earlier meeting and it was bid as an alternate to the project.

The cost to excavate, haul, and dump the bricks is about $6,285. Because of the cost and the unknown condition of the bricks, council decided to move ahead with the excavation, see what the bricks look like, and decide then whether or not to continue.

Additionally, if the city includes the Fourth Street traffic signal in the project, it would cost another $150,000 in supplemental appropriations from the electric fund. The study on the signal will be complete in a few weeks and council will hear the results and make a decision in April.

Dow Street will be one-way during the construction on Main Street, council has decided. Letters were sent out to the 27 residents who live on Dow Street between the railroad and First Street on Feb. 27. The city received seven responses, four in favor, one “no,” and two non-committal responses.

Making Dow Street one-way will provide more parking spaces downtown during construction.

City staff is having a meeting with businesses and the contractor on March 14 to review the construction timeline.

Council also approved a contract with Brumbaugh Construction for the Fire and EMS Station renovation project at a cost of $1,557,000 and solved the problem of where to locate the emergency crews during construction.

While the Fire and EMS station is under construction, the city’s emergency responders will be housed in a mobile office unit in the station parking lot. The trailer will cost less than $10,000 total during the 9-10 months of construction and will allow the EMTs to stay in the same place.

The city has looked into various other options including renting space on the west side of the city (at an estimated cost of $20,000), and housing them at the Community Services building or the Government Center. The station renovation is set to begin April 1.

Council also heard the first reading of an ordinance that would give the city more options for disposing surplus property. The city’s code currently says that any surplus property with a value of $1,000 or more must be disposed of by public sale, auction, or trade-in.

This ordinance would amend the code to allow surplus property to be disposed of by “sale, donation, or agreement to another political subdivision without the requirement of competitive bidding.” The reason for this change was a request from the Village of Covington to buy the city’s surplus dump truck directly.

It would also allow the city to consider another request from the Oneida Volunteer Fire Department of Clay County, Ky., and the Fellowship of Christian Firefighters Intl. Michael Whitby, a Tipp City EMT and Regional Director of the Fellowship of Christian Firefighters, who has asked the city to consider donating their surplus 1982 fire pumper to the Oneida Volunteer Fire Department. The Oneida fire department services one of the poorest communities in the United States and has two fire engines, one of which is 40 years old and in bad shape.

“They could use it, there’s no doubt in my mind,” Kessler said.

The Oneida fire department receives most of its $8,000 annual income through fundraisers, fire dues from each household, and state funds. With the recent purchase of a 2,000 gallon per minute fire pump, Tipp City’s surplus fire pumper, which was purchased in 1982 and is in good condition, was taken out of service. It is estimates to have a value of $2,000-$7,000. The city has five other trucks with pumps, including the new ladder truck.

Councilman Bryan Budding said that he didn’t like the idea of giving away a truck that the Tipp City taxpayers had bought, but that he wouldn’t have any problem with it if that’s what council chose to do. The other members of council were in favor of donating the truck.