Shelby County Commissioners involved in Auglaize River project

By Alexandra Newman -

SIDNEY — The Auglaize River log removal project has affected about 412 acres in the very top west corner of Shelby County where some water drains in.

For this reason, Shelby County Commissioners met with officials from Auglaize and Allen counties on Tuesday as they begin to wrap up the project.

Rahrig Tree Co., of Forest, Ohio, started the log jam removal project in June 2013 and was originally supposed to complete it by April 2014. Due to inclement weather, and other unforeseen delays, 4.25 miles of the river remain to be cleared.

Rahrig now must clear the remaining portion by Oct. 15, or legal action will be taken by the county officials. The Daily Standard reported, after the meeting on Tuesday, Auglaize County Commissioner Doug Spencer said, the company will receive no further extensions past October.

The project was in the planning stages for about 10 years, and in the original contract it includes legal action county officials may take if the project was not completed by the deadline.

The project covered 57.9 miles of the Auglaize River and seven and a half miles of Two-Mile Creek. The creek portion, and the portion affecting Shelby County is complete, less than six percent of the entire project, but Shelby County officials still have to see the project through completion, Shelby County Commissioner Tony Bornhorst said.

The company submitted a low bid of $294,822 in 2012 for the Auglaize River portion and $60,000 for Two-Mile Creek and its branches. The project has now been estimated to cost $770,000, Bornhorst said.

“That should include the remainder of work to be done, the difference from that number to the total that was originally assessed, some (of it) has been used to execute a separate contract to another entity to remove more of the dead ash trees along the banks. The current contractor’s bid was very low in comparison to what was expected, which has allowed for some extra allowances,” Bornhorst said.

Property owners in the affected area in Shelby County had their properties assessed and paid taxes and fees accordingly, said Bornhorst. Residents along the river and creek in Auglaize and Allen Counties paid fees as well.

All assessments to parcels within the scope of the project were based on how many acres of land is being drained by the river, and where those acres of runoff water will actually enter the project. Also, in order to create a permanent maintenance account for the future removal of logjams, debris, and severely leaning trees, an additional 10 percent was included in the assessment in order to establish a maintenance account.

The Auglaize County Engineer’s Office has agreed to perform the permanent future maintenance on the Auglaize River within Auglaize County, and the entire length of the Two-Mile Creek project. The Allen County SWCD has agreed to oversee the maintenance for any work needed in Allen County.

Rahrig officials will now be notified of the deadline and the possible legal action that could result if the project is not completed by Oct. 15.

We are really close to getting it done and wrapped up. Hopefully the contractor will finish this project in October, Bornhorst said.

In other Shelby County Commissioner business, in meeting on Sept. 10, they approved the following:

• Purchase of a vehicle for the sheriff’s office at a total cost of $45,005.40. This includes up-fitting, graphics and radio.

• Final payment in the amount of $137,992.15 to Base Construction Technologies for the 2015 Wells Road Reclamation Project.

• Payment of weekly expenditures of $350,109.06.

On Tuesday, Sept. 15, commissioners held a courthouse project update meeting and heard the following:

• 1st and 2nd floors are complete with window installation, HVAC, ceilings, lighting, and fire alarm. 3rd floor is 95 percent complete.

• Project is expected to be complete by the end of September.

•Masonry restoration is complete.

• Clock tower repair is in progress.

Also Tuesday, commissioners approved the final payment of $138,525.50 to Brumbaugh Construction for the Thompson-Schiff Road Bridge Replacement Project. Total project cost is $138,525.50 and approved a preliminary engineering agreement with CSX Transportation Inc. for engineering and/or design services for bridge rehabilitation on Fair Road over CSX. $9,790.

By Alexandra Newman

Reach this writer at 937-538-4825; follow on Twitter @SDNAlexandraN

Reach this writer at 937-538-4825; follow on Twitter @SDNAlexandraN