City approves projects

ENGLEWOOD — City council passed three resolutions to receive reimbursement from the state for three water main replacement projects.

Half of the funding for each project is being funded by a grant and half by a loan. The city will pay back the loan early so that it does not show up as a debt.

“The state actually provides the money for the Ohio Public Works Commission through the sale of bonds,” said City Manager Eric Smith. “What the state requires us to do is to assure them that we are going to pay back the loan portion of the project that we received the loan and grant funding for. Each one of these is about $100,000 for the loan at zero percent interest. It actually gives us the ability to decide if for some reason we ran short we could always pay them back over a period of time on an installment plan. So far we’ve been able to pay it back by the end of the year.”

Even if the city took several years to pay back the loan it would still be at zero percent interest.

One project is for the Fallview Water Main Replacement Project at a cost of $84,473. The second is the Bonnycastle/Woodlawn Water Main for $100,000 and the Hile Lane/Herr Street Water Main for $100,000.

Council also approved its five-year capital improvement program for the years 2016 through 2020. The resolution serves as a long-range plan to aid in budgeting and setting aside adequate reserves to fund future improvements. If grant funding becomes available for certain projects in later years of the plan, council may vote to expedite the actual completion of the project earlier than was anticipated.

The five-year capital improvement program totals $16,375,157.

“This is just a guideline. It forces us to sit down and think about what the future projects should be,” Smith said. “They change. It depends on how successful we are at getting grant money for different projects. The finance director pretty much takes responsibility for assembling this with input from all department heads.”

Smith also pointed out that the ability to receive grants has become much more competitive due to all of the cuts made by the state.

“All communities are looking to the Ohio Public Works Commission to help fund their capital improvement projects,” Smith said.

The city takes advantage of participating in state bids for police vehicles, cars, trailers and heavy equipment.

“We purchase as much as we can on state bid because generally, not always, but generally that where the best prices are found,” he noted.

Council also authorized the city manager to purchase an emergency services phone switch for the Englewood Regional Dispatch Center at a cost of $110,000. The state is changing to digital dispatching in 2016 and the city needs to upgrade its switch to an Internet-Protocol (IP) NG9-1-1 system in order to receive 9-1-1 calls. The outdated analog phone system cannot accept or process the types of calls and data new communications devices utilize.

“This should be the last big ticket item for the conversion,” Smith said. “We are cooperating with the city of Huber Heights to purchase this very sophisticated phone switch. By cooperating with Huber Heights we are securing a $75,000 savings through a joint purchase and second of all Huber Heights and Englewood will act as a backup for each other in the event some catastrophic event occurs. If someone can’t phone in to Englewood the phone lines would automatically rotate over to Huber Heights and vice versa.”

By Ron Nunnari

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Reach Ron Nunnari at 684-9124, via email [email protected] or on Twitter @Englewood_Ind