Russia approves village improvements

By Christopher Bulfinch - For the Sidney Daily News

RUSSIA — The regular monthly meeting of the Russia Village council was Nov. 14 in the village office at 232 W. Main St.

Mayor Terence Daugherty called the meeting to order at 7 p.m. Major topics of discussion included the Liberty Street reconstruction project, the Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) application for 2019, the Veterans’ Park project, a property annexation, some road work and a few miscellaneous issues.

All members except for Greg Borcher were present. Nonmembers Mark Shappie, Mary Jo Voisard, Craig Albers, Matt Hoying of Choice One Engineering and Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart were also present.

Starting off the meeting, Lenhart presented the report of activity for the previous month. Activity included special patrols to monitor stop signs, as requested at the September meeting. There were a couple of citations, and he noted that cars sometimes travelled at excessive speed around Francis Mfg.

Matt Hoying submitted the third payment application for the Liberty Street reconstruction project. The application was signed, and he will return it for submission. This is the final payment for the project. The total cost of the project was $550,006.90, with the OPWC portion being $495,006.21, and the village portion being $55,000.69. The OPWC payment comprises a grant of $416,343.00 and a 20-year, interest-free loan of $78,663.21.

A motion to suspend the rules was made by Adam Barga and seconded by Ron Simon. The motion passed unanimously.

Mary Jo High moved and John Grogean seconded the motion approving Resolution 18-11-14, which confirmed the necessity of making improvements to Liberty Street. The motion passed unanimously, as did a secondary motion enacting recommended improvements.

The 2019 OPWC application for the Commerce Drive extension is almost certain to be approved. Notification of the application’s status should be received by the end of the year. The total project is $752,285 with a grant of $480,000 and a 20-year, interest-free loan of $120,000. The engineering costs should be very low, as most of the engineering was done when the bridge was installed. Hoying was going to follow up with Vectren, DP&L and Pioneer to get estimates for gas and electric service, which are not included in the grant application.

Shappie said that since Bob Goubeaux has a contract for farming the land next year, he will have to be informed about which part of the property will not be available for farming. Council said that he should be told that the area where the detention pond will be, Lot 1, and the area where the street will be will not be rented out. If any other crops are damaged, the Village will reimburse him.

Simon reported that the Veteran’s Park is near completion. Benches have been installed, two planters will be installed soon and a table has been ordered and will arrive soon. Lights were delivered later in the week.

There are several pledges for the park that will be paid over the next few years. Therefore, the foundation does not have the funds to pay the remaining bills. The pledges that remain outstanding for the park total $29,475.00. The remaining bills are approximately $30,000.00. Simon asked if the village would pay the remaining bills, and have the pledges paid to the village to recoup the expenses.

High moved and Barga seconded the motion to pay the bills and collect the outstanding pledged donations during 2019 and 2020. The motion passed unanimously.

The council identified a steep drop off on the park property, and the council agreed that a barrier should be installed. The council got an estimate for decorative fencing that would match the fence in front of the pentagon. The estimate is $2,200, but this was not included as a part of their project. A motion approving the installation of the fence passed unanimously.

The remaining work on Veterans’ Park does not have funds allocated for it, so an appropriation modification is necessary.

A motion to suspend the rules was made by Goubeaux and seconded by Simon. The motion passed unanimously.

An ordinance providing for such a change to appropriations was introduced and passed unanimously.

Barrett Paving has agreed to extend the warranty for the Liberty Street 2017 project for two full years. Someone will be sent out to inspect it in May 2019 to decide the necessary repairs.

The council unanimously passed Ordinance 18-11, which was an annexation agreement between Russia and Loramie Township and Robert A. and Deborah A. Phlipot, annexing to the village certain territory containing 1.749 acres located in Loramie Township and declaring the same to be an emergency. The motion passed.

Resolution 18-11-14A was proposed to provide Russia’s town services to the annexed area. It passed unanimously.

Russia resident Charles Voisard is not happy with the approach to his driveway that was installed as a part of the Liberty Street reconstruction project. The approach was done according to specifications for the project, but the narrowness of Voisard’s driveway means that the driveway approach resulting for the project is narrow, as well.

The village currently has a contract with the township for the maintenance of the boom mower that is jointly owned. The agreement states that the village will store the mower, and the township will pay the insurance cost. Maintenance costs will be shared jointly. The township said that the agreement is acceptable for 2019, but the village must agree to the extension by a motion in official minutes.

Such a motion was made and passed unanimously.

The Zoning Board met and approved the storage of dried corn in the building at 101 N. Liberty St., owned by Weaver Brothers. He said that the permission was granted until May 1, 2019, and would have to be renewed if they wanted permission again.

Shappie said that he receive a letter from Russia Fire Department stating that they are currently assessing their needs for a new or renovated firehouse. They are reviewing the feasibility of adding on to the current firehouse vs. building a new one. If a new one is built, they are asking if the village would consider donating a lot in the new Industrial Park. They are interested in Lot No. 1. They said that they expect to make a decision on the course of action sometime in 2019, with the project to move forward in 2021 or 2022. Council agreed that the fire department would be given first option on Lot No. 1.

Shappie said that it is necessary to run a natural gas line to Ed Luthman’s building on Industrial Drive. The estimate is about $3,100. Grogean moved and Barga seconded the motion to approve the installation. All yea, motion passed.

Shappie said that the three lots that were combined into one lot on Elizabeth Street contained an easement that needs to be vacated in order for the owners to build.

An ordinance, Ordinance 18-13, sanctioning the vacating of the utility easement, passed unanimously.

Daugherty said that the lot on Liberty Street at the end of Borchers Street is no longer for sale. The owners have decided to keep it for the time being to see if the land behind it can be developed at a future date. They did agree to give the village first right of refusal if they decide to sell it at a future date.

Simon said that he will resign from council at the end of the year. He had agreed to stay on for one year until a replacement was found. His replacement will be appointed at the December meeting.

Shappie presented a drawing of a proposed sign for the new Industrial Park. It will be a 4-foot by 8-foot aluminum sign by Visual Concepts at a cost of $550. It will advertise the lots available. Council approved the design.

Shappie said that he will be ordering 40 tons of road salt at a cost of $65 per ton.

Shappie said that in order to install the two lights at the new bridge, the village would have to pay DP&L $3,000 for a pole. Council decided to wait until the street is in and make a decision on lighting at that time.

High asked about the progress on the Russia Inn. Shappie said he is meeting with the owner, the architect and the contractor, Nov. 16.

By Christopher Bulfinch

For the Sidney Daily News

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.