by Dan Holland
Sept. 1 township trustees meeting
As part of the 2022 Richfield Township road program, Richfield Township Administrator Mindy Lott said the township received a bid from the Summit County Engineers’ Office to replace the Newton Road culvert. The combined costs of that project and the asphalt resurfacing in the Kings Forest subdivision totaled $5,100 more than the $275,000 that was approved for the road program.
Trustees approved a motion to increase the 2022 road program ceiling by $6,000 to cover the extra cost. The culvert replacement is expected to begin in the fall, according to Lott.
Trustee Chairperson Janet Jankura brought up the impending need for road resurfacing in the Glencairn Forest subdivision. “We’ve received some inquiries from residents about the roads in Glencairn Forest – they’re getting pretty old and need to be redone,” she said. “I know that will be a long project to repave all of that, and we need to have a conversation with residents about what can be done now and how we can pay for that.”
Lott said service department foreman Jerry Schall worked out a 10-year road forecast that can be adjusted based upon road conditions. She said the total length of roadways in Kings Forest is 0.86 miles compared with 4.6 miles of roadways in the Glencairn Forest development. The total cost of the two-phase project in Kings Forest was more than $250,000.
Lott said it might be necessary to develop a five-year plan that would address one mile or less of roadway per year in the Glencairn development to stay within the township budget. An immediate goal would be to receive an estimate on future roadwork from the Summit County Engineers’ Office prior to the end of 2022. The county bids road projects, selects contractors and supervises and inspects road-paving projects for the township. The township in turn receives bulk-paving prices.
Trustee Don Laubacher asked if a paving method using recycled asphalt could be utilized in the Glencairn development, citing a recent use of the process in Richfield Village. Lott said she would confer with Schall on the option.
The trustees approved a motion to request engineering assistance and cost estimating of the 2023 township road program from the county.
Trustees approved a three-year contract with Rumpke Waste and Recycling Services of Northern Ohio starting Jan. 1, 2023, with an available two-year extension. The contract is in tandem with Richfield Village, where an agreement with Rumpke was approved on Sept. 6.
The township’s annual costs per household per month for the semi-automated program, in which Rumpke provides recycling carts, will be $16.75 in 2023, $17.42 in 2024 and $18.12 in 2025, with costs of $18.84 and $19.50 respectively during two optional extension years. The action keeps in place the same program Richfield residents have had for the past five years.
The contract coincides with a five-year, 1.1-mill township waste-hauling levy that expires at the end of 2022. Lott said she anticipates the levy being placed on the spring 2023 ballot for renewal.
“Township residents can expect the same good service they’ve become accustomed to,” said Lott via email. “Even though this new contract was by far the lowest bid, it does represent a 17 percent cost increase. The trustees are considering applying some available American Rescue Plan funds to mitigate this increase.”
ARPA fund uses
The trustees discussed a variety of options for allocation of the $262,296 the township received in 2021-2022 under the American Rescue Plan Act. The funds must be obligated by the end of 2024 and expended by the end of 2026.
Trustees recently allocated $20,000 of the funds toward the purchase of a brush chipper from Richfield Joint Recreation District.
Laubacher revisited an idea of upgrading the township website.
“I would love to see our website overhauled,” he said. “I think it could be a lot better and there are things residents could do on the website that they can’t do now; like file zoning applications and pay zoning fees. It just needs to be much more interactive. I think it would be well worth it to update it.”
Installation of a backup generator for the administration and service department building had been previously discussed. The most recent price quote in March came back at $42,800, according to Lott. She added that $5,900 received in NOPEC grant funding could be put toward the generator purchase.
Jankura also brought up the possibility of installing solar panels on the building.
“I’m not big on solar because it would be an added maintenance cost,” said Trustee Robert Luther. “Solar would be a whole different ballgame for us with very high maintenance, and I don’t know how well [the panels] hold up.”
Laubacher said he would have an interest in pursuing the option only if it would provide a cost savings to the township.
Jankura also discussed the possibility of applying a portion of the funds toward the roadways and bridges fund. She also suggested using funds to provide a tax reduction for residents by applying it to levies currently in place, including the waste hauling levy.
Laubacher brought up a previously mentioned idea of digitizing township zoning records. The township presently has no backup system in place for the paper records on file.
“I think it would come to over $30,000 to take all the files we have and digitize them and begin a library for them,” said Lott. “We can’t do it in house, as we don’t have the staff or equipment to do all of that. But it would be nice to have access to them remotely and have a backup.”
Lott added that she would look into costs and feasibility for many of the ideas presented.
Lott announced that a no parking zone on Columbia Road within township limits is now enforceable. The resolution, passed at the Aug. 2 trustees meeting, is aimed at alleviating truck congestion along the roadway located in the Joint Economic Development District.
In other action, trustees approved a $1,000 refund for a zoning certificate issued for a property on Everett Road. The potential owner and builder discovered previously unknown riparian issues on the property, according to Richfield Township Zoning Inspector Patricia Ryan. ∞