NEW FRANKLIN The NEXUS pipeline project is underway in the city of New Franklin.
During the Feb. 7 council meeting, New Franklin Mayor Paul Adamson said he recently met with NEXUS officials and plans to meet again soon to review the project.
The pipeline is expected to stretch six miles through the city and go under 13 roads. City Council recently agreed to grant NEXUS the easements needed for the roads. In return, NEXUS paid the city $60,000 and will repair any damage caused to the roads.
Adamson said the clearing has already been done along the route. Installation of the pipeline is expected in June or July. He said it will likely take two to three weeks to install.
NEXUS, however, forgot to include a couple of roads in the agreement, including South Main Street, which is half maintained by the city and the other half by Green.
"There are a couple of items to still negotiate with us," Adamson said. "We can sit back down at the table and see what the value of that is."
The city hopes to collect income tax from the contractors that will be working on the job. He said since the contractors are out of Wisconsin and the city doesn't have to wait 20 days to start collecting income tax.
"This has been a hot button item," Adamson said. "No one wanted this to come through."
NEXUS has told the city that projections from the project show a $1 million economic benefit not only to the city, but also the schools during a five-year period.
"We are going to have that conversation," Adamson said. "We will take a look at that and see where that projection came from."
Prior to these recent discussions, Adamson said he never heard anything about a financial benefit.
Adamson also commented on Green recently settling with NEXUS and getting $7.5 million. He said Green was a double stakeholder between road easements and city property being impacted. Green also had plenty of litigation to fight the pipeline, he said.
Some people have questioned why New Franklin didn’t enter litigation and fight like Green.
"Our finances were not great and we were in a tight spot," Adamson said. "I can’t second guess their decision at the time not being able to join in."
Adamson said Green fought the fight. He plans to continue to track the pipeline project as it moves forward in the city.
In other business Feb. 7, council:
- Approved for the city to accept all Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council Energized Community Grants. These grants are related to the gas and electric aggregation program the city is part of. Adamson said the grant is based on the number of residents registered in the aggregation program. By passing the legislation, the city will receive $6,135, which can only be used for specific things such as lighting projects. Adamson said the money will go to pay off the cost of the eight new lights added on Manchester Road as a part of that improvement project.
- Approved to clarify a past resolution with regard to sick leave incentive payments to certain New Franklin non-bargaining employees. The employees included are the police chief, police caption, fire chief, assistant fire chief and the deputy service director. Adamson said this adds to a past resolution and there was a great deal of discussion on the topic when these positions went from hourly to salary pay. From his understanding, the incentive of not using sick days was intended with the original resolution, but wasn’t clearly stated.
"I wasn’t comfortable with the fact they don’t get it and everyone else in the city does," Adamson said.
- Discussed to continue to allow for the New Franklin Police Department to perform fingerprinting services. Adamson said the cost is increasing, but the price is consistent with other departments and places that perform the same service charge. He also said the city is not making money on the service. Councilman Jim Cotts said he checked with several other places and the prices are consistent. There is a cheaper rate for residents compared to non-residents. Last year, the city provided the service 60 times compared to 80 the year before. Cotts said the service is a huge inconvenience to the police department because it has to pull an officer off the street to come in and perform the service. Councilman Terry Harget requested council take another week on the legislation.
- Discussed that the city received two applications for the open council seat in Ward 4. The opening comes following the resignation of Councilman Gust Kalapodis due to health reasons. By city charter, the city has 45 days to fill the position. Adamson said the city got a lot of calls and interest in it, but only two applications. Applications were accepted from Jan. 17 through Feb. 7. Council is expected to interview the two candidates and make a decision by March 3.
- Heard from Adamson about snow removal. He said January was a busy month for the crews. He said the snow on Feb. 7 was a real tough one because of the amount that fell in such a short period. He said the city’s road crews have been doing a "really good job and have been working hard."
- Heard from Adamson also about some interest he had from someone about game rooms in the city. He said Norton and Coventry Township have several and they restrict the number of licenses of how many can open. New Franklin doesn’t have legislation to permit or deny game rooms in the city, but Adamson said it might be worth looking into. He said Norton has seven licenses and it charges $1,000 annually. Norton also charges an additional $200 semi-annually per machine. He said while the city doesn’t have any game rooms asking to open, it might be worth at least putting together a list of fees for them. Adamson said some legislation will be put together during the next few months and the city will ask for some public input.