The following is the latest installment of Mayor Jim Boroff's monthly updates on city issues.
City administrator. As reported earlier in this newspaper, we now have a new city administrator. Council has approved the hiring of Deb Reamer, who will replace Wayne Stephens in that position. Wayne retired earlier this year due to health reasons.
Deb has been the human resources director at St. Francis Nursing Home and brings with her many years of experience in personnel relations and grant writing skills. Although she does not officially begin until Thursday, Deb already has started to verse herself in the processes of city government.
I welcome Deb and urge everyone to stop by her office to get acquainted with her. I know she will do a tremendous job for the citizens of Tiffin.
Rock Creek interceptor. City Council recently authorized the preliminary engineering for the renovation and repair of the Rock Creek interceptor. Built in the mid-1950s, this sewer line is approximately 6,000 feet long and essentially runs parallel to Rock Creek. The purpose was to catch the sanitary sewer run-off that previously had been dumped into the creek.
Now almost 60 years old, certain sections of this interceptor are beginning to fail. Representatives from Jones & Henry engineers are advising us to replace approximately half of the existing pipe and "slip line" the other half. Simply put, slip lining is the process of sliding a plastic sleeve into the pipe and then heat curing it. This creates a slightly smaller pipe that is very strong. It also eliminates the need to dig huge trenches and disrupt the neighborhoods.
By slip lining these sections, we would be saving a great deal of time and effort, which translates into a significant cost savings. The estimate for the project is in the neighborhood of $2 million. We have applied for a low-interest loan from the Environmental Protection Agency for this work.
When completed, this work should alleviate much of the flooding in basements that occurs in many of the buildings that are served by the interceptor. If the timetable plays out as it should, the work would commence in late summer and be finished by late fall. We will be announcing a public meeting within the next few months to present the particulars to anyone who is interested in this project.
Office operations. With the cuts in the 2011 budget by City Council and the reduced hours for non-represented employees, there may be unavoidable delays in providing some services. There is no longer a secretary in the city engineer's office. This means that - especially during the spring/summer construction season - all of our engineering staff will be needed out in the field for various construction projects, which means the office will be closed.
I am suggesting that, if you need to discuss building plans with our engineers or are desiring to get a zoning permit, you should call ahead to schedule a time. The office can be reached at (419) 448-5425. The nominal hours for the office are 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. If no one is available to take your call, please leave a short message with a callback number, and one of the staff will contact you as soon as possible.
At this time of year, personnel in the tax department of the finance office are available to assist you with your city of Tiffin income tax returns. Although no appointment is necessary, you may encounter delays if a number of people are seeking help at the same time - especially if your return is a little more complicated. It might be advisable to call ahead to set a time to discuss your return with one of our income tax people. The phone number for income tax is (419) 448-5405.
Recycling. A good question was raised by a letter writer to The A-T last week. She asked why the recycling materials were co-mingled when left at the center on East Market Street. Her suggestion was to have patrons deposit the different items (glass, paper, etc.) in separate bins. By doing this, she felt, it would be much more efficient.
When we opened the facility under the auspices of the Ottawa-Sandusky-Seneca Solid Waste District, I asked the very same question, because I, too, thought separation by the patrons made sense. However, as it turns out, this is a better method.
The OSS people point out there are many types of glass, plastics and paper. This makes it necessary for trained personnel to do the sorting. For example, if one wrong plastic container is processed with one hundred pounds of another type, the whole batch is ruined in the recycling effort. Therefore, even if citizens were to presort the materials, everything still would have to be screened.