Tiffin panel backs grant to aid paving

A Tiffin committee told Law Director Brent Howard to draft legislation that would allow the city to apply for a state grant that could add about $250,000 to the city’s paving budget for 2019.

During a Monday meeting of the Streets, Sidewalks and Sewers Committee, Mayor Aaron Montz said the city is eligible for the Ohio Public Works State Capital Improvement Fund Grant.

City Administrator Dale Thornton said approval of a 0.25-percent income tax levy for roads and bridges in May could give the city a better chance to land the grant. He said the levy will lead to a larger paving budget, which could be leveraged to gain more state funds.

The grant application is due Sept. 6 and Thornton said the city should know by the end of the year if it is to receive funding.

City Engineer Mario Livojevic said without a boost from the levy, this year’s paving budget was about $415,000.

The road and bridge levy is to be $1.3 million-$1.5 million annually, with about $400,000 of that earmarked for bridge improvements.

Montz said the paving budget for next year, with the OPWC grant, should be nearly $900,000.

“We can spend it, we’ve got the roads (that need work),” Livojevic said.

Montz said the paving budget could be higher in future years, but it is not expected to be in 2019 because collection of levy funding begins in January and paving project goes to bid around June. Starting in 2020, closer to 12 months of tax funding will have been collected by the time the city’s annual paving project goes to bid.

In other news, Montz informed council during a special meeting that a member of the city’s administration had resigned and gave a financial update.

Montz said former Finance Director Jennifer Miller informed him Friday she planned to resign.

“We have already begun the hiring process, we’ll keep you informed as we move on with that,” he said. “I wish (Miller) the best in her future endeavors and career.”

Montz declined further comment.

He also said during his report that the city had received about $70,500 more in income tax revenue through June compared to the same period in 2017. He said this represents a 0.89-percent increase.

“I’m hoping to get closer to that 2- or 3-percent mark,” he said. “Nevertheless, at least we have an increase. It’s the second straight month we’ve shown an increase.”

The meeting concluded after a brief executive session to discuss employment of a public official and to discuss the discipline of a public official.

Last week, council held an executive session to discuss the discipline of a public official. Miller was not invited to that meeting and did not return to the council meeting after the executive session.

In other business, the Streets, Sidewalks and Sewers Committee voted to send legislation to council that would dedicate Progress Parkway as a public street.

The committee also agreed to accept temporary easements — the right to use property for a particular defined purpose, in this case, for road creation and maintenance — necessary for the project.

Councilman Steve Lepard said Progress Parkway, which is under construction, is to be about a quarter-mile long between Aldi and Tiffin Reineke Ford-Lincoln.

The West End Development project includes creation of Progress Parkway and extension of Fair Lane to provide access to a 60-acre site city officials plan to use to recruit businesses.

Trilogy Health Services already has committed to locate there. The $14.5-million, 92-bed facility is to open on a 7.7-acre parcel at the corner of US 224 and Shaffer Park Drive.

Progress Parkway will feature a temporary cul de sac, but Montz said development at the site will dictate the future of the road.