HARTVILLE Mayor Cynthia Billings took the occasion of the first village council meeting of the year to give an overview of last year’s capital projects and items in the planning stages for 2018, including several capital purchases, plans to construct a new police station and radio upgrades in the police department, and road paving.
"Council has changed up the paving program the last couple years," Billings said. "Instead of doing paving every year, we pool two years of paving money and pave every other year."
Having more money at its disposal, along with going out to bid earlier in the year, allowed the village to get better pricing on asphalt and pave more roads overall last year. Billings said the combination of early bidding, grant money and state municipal road funds allowed the paving of Woodland Street, Menlo Park Street, the cul-de-sac at Crestmont Avenue, Billman and Lynnview streets and Parklane Drive, as well as Tonawanda Trail and Seneca Trail in the Indian Village allotment.
"This year, we will not be doing much other than maintenance, but (we) hope to be able to get some good prices and do a lot next year," Billings said.
Streets department purchases
In 2017, the streets department purchased a Class 7 Freightliner dump truck – the village’s first with brine tanks to pretreat roads in the winter - to be used for plowing, leaf pickup and other jobs, Billings said.
This year’s primary capital project in the streets department, the construction of a clear span storage building, is being driven by an Environmental Protection Agency mandate.
"The EPA says (the street department) must cover certain supplies they use, mostly metal objects, and until now they have been covering them with a tarp," the mayor said.
The building, Billings added, will be more efficient during inclement weather and allow for more organization of materials.
Police department building and cruisers
The purchase of an SUV police vehicle in 2018 will complete the police department’s changeover from cruisers to an entire fleet of SUVs.
Plans to construct a new police station are also on the village to-do list for 2018.
"If any of you have been to our police department, you know how small it is," Billings said. "Not only is it an issue with overcrowding, but also a safety issue for our officers, visitors and the rest of the building staff."
The mayor said the results of a village-commissioned feasibility study by DS Architecture will be discussed early this year.
"The police have done an amazing job in spite of their limitations and I think now we need to do our part to help them," Billings said.
The mayor also touched on positive activity in the village industrial park, including the sale of "almost all usable land" in 2017, the majority of which will be developed by Heritage Trucking, and the village’s contracting with the Ohio Valley Conservation Coalition for long-term care of an EPA designated wetlands in the industrial park that the village has spent several years reclaiming.
"About seven acres in the back corner of our industrial park is considered a wetland; we were required to return the area to its natural state," Billings said. "The area had been used as a dump for a long time."
The conservation contract marked the final step in that process, she said.
Finally, Billings spoke about two projects outside the village that will greatly impact residents; the Lake Local Schools middle and high school additions and two roundabout projects on State Route 619 that will see portions of Kaufman Avenue and King Church Road closed for 30-day periods.
"Both roundabouts are expected to be functional by late summer 2018 (and) spring 2019," Billings said. "619 traffic flow will continue throughout the projects. If completed on schedule, it will be done by late June 2020.
Finally, the mayor updated council members on the village’s fiscal health.
"We are holding our own financially but there are many projects that need done that we can’t do because of budget restrictions," she said.
In addition to the aforementioned police station and paving projects, Billings said, the condition of village hall continues to be a concern.
"We have an aging Village Hall that needs new windows, roof, air conditioning and heating, and some inside work such as carpeting and painting," she said. "These are all things that need done and it is up to us to figure out the best way to fund them."