NEW FRANKLIN Mayor Al Bollas is looking into alternatives for snow removal of some roads in the city, including state routes 619, 93 and 236, after he was recently informed by the Summit County Engineer that costs for this county service will triple.
At the Sept. 6 meeting, Bollas explained that the city still holds a contract with the county for road salt and snow removal. New Franklin is the only city, along with nine townships that contract with the county.
The city of New Franklin is responsible for snow removal of the city roads.
Bollas explained that he had a meeting with Steven Brunot, the director of administration for Summit County Engineer Alan Brubaker.
"It seems that someone in the County Engineer's Department made a mistake 13 years ago on the formula," Bollas said, where the cost should be based on lane miles, not road miles. The number of lane miles is 102. "I was only given two weeks notice."
"Last year, we paid $84,762.24 for maintaining selected roads including State Routes 619, 93, and 236. It was a mild winter," he added. "The year before, the bill was $110,000. This year, the bill will be approximately $239,000. We asked if they could smooth the rate over a period of time and we received a proposal."
The proposed contract would be for three years with a flat fee of $105,600 in 2017, $130,8000 in 2018 and $160,680 in 2019. However, explained Treasurer Susan Cooke, there is also an estimated lump sum of $342,000 that would be due at the end of the contract if the city did not renew.
"This sum could be higher or lower based upon the actual costs which are dictated by the weather each winter," she said. "If the actual cost of snow removal is more than $150,000 over the flat fee, we would be responsible to pay the overage in that year."
The actual cost is based upon 39.7 percent of the actual expenses for the South Station for snow and ice removal, plus a 3 percent annual increase.
Bollas said the city is not prepared to handle these additional costs and he plans to talk with neighboring cities such as Green and Barberton to discuss splitting costs. With only two months before snow may start, Bollas said the city may not be able to get out of the county contract this year. To that, Councilman Jim Cotts said he would not be willing to have the city pay the lump sum, if they choose to cancel after one year.
Council Vice President Harry Gehm agreed that other alternatives should be explored.
"Put the work out to bid," he said.
Bollas said he was thinking more along the lines of the city purchasing two snow removal trucks and sees that as as investment over the long run.
"We just hired two road department employees, too," he added. "The city is responsible for snow removal of the city roads.
Bollas said he will report back to council at the Sept. 20 meeting with any proposals he may have.