Council accepts Ruth Street residents’ proposal

By Sheryl Roadcap -

SIDNEY — Sidney City Council approved Ruth Street residents’ proposal to pay $300 per residence for necessary storm drain repairs during Monday evening’s meeting.

Gary Clough, assistant city manager/public works director, presented council Monday with the residents’ proposal after city staff met with Ruth Street residents during a meeting Thursday, Aug. 9.

At the beginning of the discussion, Clough reviewed the storm drainage situation for council members. He said during the construction of the waterline replacement project on Ruth Street between North Main Avenue and Broadway Avenue, an issue was encountered with the storm drains, which came from the house downspouts and basement sump pumps into the existing asphalt curbs.

He explained the existing curbs were asphalt instead of the typical concrete curb and gutters found throughout Sidney. Part of the project, he said, was to replace the asphalt curbs with standard concrete curb and gutters. During the removal of the asphalt curbs, the storm drains from the houses were also uncovered between the street and the sidewalk. It was discovered the drains, for the most part, did not drain positively to the street from the house. To get under the sidewalk many of the drains then flowed uphill from the sidewalk to the curb and street allowing partial flow but causing silt and dirt to collect in many of the drains slowing flow through the pipe. This condition, Clough said, was unknown to the residents and to the city prior to excavation during the project.

He said since the resolution of this issue would not affect the completion of the waterline installation or the milling and filling of the street, the project proceeded while the city sought to determine the cause and solution to the problem encountered with the storm drains.

Clough continued to explain that after survey work was performed to determine the elevations of the street compared to the drains, it was determined the problem was an existing issue that was not caused by the project that was under way.

He told council city staff scheduled a meeting with Ruth Street residents to review the issue, causes and possible solutions on July 19. At the meeting, he said staff reviewed the issue, history and potential solution and costs with residents.

The solution, Clough explained, was to install a 6-inch storm drain approximately 18-inch-deep to connect all the storm drains to create a positive flow from the house storm drains ultimately into the catch basins in the street. Clough said city staff had one cost proposal from Sturm Construction at that time for $52,360. Staff’s proposal to Ruth Street residents was for the city to pay half the cost and for the rest to be equally appropriated to the 30 adjacent properties.

Clough noted the proposal was not received well by the residents. There was a lot of discussion over timing, fault and cost and the meeting ended with agreement to go back and get more proposals, look at financing opportunities and bring it back to a follow up meeting.

At the follow up meeting, on Aug. 9, he said city staff presented a brief review of the issues followed by a brief discussion of additional proposals received, alternates and financing options. He said four additional proposals were received from contractors ranging from $46,328 to $62,000.

Clough said staff presented an option for city crews to install the new storm sewer and connect the storm laterals with the residents paying only the cost of the materials which were estimated at $12,000. If all 30 residents participated, the cost would be $400 per resident. Staff also offered one- and two-year financing with costs estimated at $33 per month for one year, or $17 per month for two years to pay the $400. That cost, he said, was $632 or $26 per month for two years if only the 19 residents with storm lateral from the house participated in the project costs.

After city staff’s presentation, Clough said residents asked for some time to review the city’s proposal, so staff left the room while the attending residents reviewed and discussed the information. Upon staff’s return to the meeting, the residents proposed they would pay $300 per residence with no financing options to get the project completed.

Clough recommended for council to accept the resident’s proposal so city staff can prepare necessary agreements with property owners and begin construction after the agreements are received.

Vice Mayor Mardie Milligan asked for confirmation that the city would be responsible to maintain the 6-inch storm drain along the curb and the residents would be responsible for the connection point to the drain pipe. Clough agreed and said each property owner would be responsible for the lateral to that pipe.

Ruth Street resident Jim O’Leary shared the overall perception among street residents was that they were not warned ahead of time or given adequate information about additional construction costs involved as they were with other street repairs. He also said there was was a lack of planning. O’Leary reiterated that $300 was the most residents were willing to pay.

City Manager Mark Cundiff re-explained to O’Leary some of the construction procedures and said the city didn’t know there was a problem ahead of the curb reconstruction.

Mayor Mike Barhorst told O’Leary the storm drains “were apparently not installed correctly to begin with,” and that the city didn’t know what they didn’t know.

After some further discussion about when the city found the issue, council voted and approved the residents’ proposal.

By Sheryl Roadcap

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.