NEW FRANKLIN  City Law Director Tom Musarra will request clarification of a one-year contract proposal for road salt and snow plowing service from the Summit County Engineering Department, after it was requested by New Franklin Mayor Al Bollas, because it did not spell out costs.

During the Oct. 4 meeting, Musarra read a proposed one-year contract from the county to council, stating the city would have to issue a purchase order for the cost of road salt and plowing 102 lane miles in the city - roads that are not plowed by the city’s road department.

"It (the contract) doesn’t make sense," Musarra said.

The proposed contract would not have a fixed cost, but Musarra said it does not give an estimated cost, either. He added that the proposal would automatically renew unless council chose not too. The deadline to end the contract would be June 1, 2018.

New Franklin is the only city in Summit county that still receives assistance with road salt and snow plowing on state routes and any road with double yellow lines such as Center and Nimisila roads, according to New Franklin Deputy Service Director Bryan Kepler.

In September, Bollas said he was given short notice by the county that the costs for plowing would triple for the coming season. The county proposed a three-year contract with an estimated cost of $342,320. Bollas said the city can’t afford the increase and told council at the September meeting he would look into other options such partnering with adjacent cities; purchasing two more plow trucks or considering a one-year contract.

"Last year, we paid $84,762.24 for maintaining selected roads; the year before the bill was $110,000," Bollas added.  "This year, the bill will be approximately $239,000. We asked if they could smooth the rate over a period of time."

The initial proposed contract would be for three years with a flat fee of $105,600 in 2017, $130,800 in 2018 and $160,680 in 2019. However, explained Treasurer Susan Cooke, there is also a lump sum that would be due at the end of the contract if we did not renew. The estimated lump sum for the three years is $342,320. 

"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 expenses for the South Station for snow and ice removal, plus a 3 percent annual increase.

Councilman Jim Cotts noted there is a need to come up with a solution quickly because the snow could start in November. Musarra said the proposed one-year contract states the city would have to commit by Oct. 31.

Council Vice President Harry Gehm suggested contracting the service out to a private company.

Kepler said if the city did choose to take over the snow plowing for the 2018-19 season, he would consider leasing two trucks and would recommend not buying used. Kepler said the city owns six trucks for plowing and the newest is eight years old. He said the city has six drivers for the six trucks and it is responsible for plowing 102 lane miles of city roads.

"If the city chose to take over the plowing the county is currently doing, the road crew would have to plow 204 lane miles," Kepler said.

Bollas said the city would have to hire seasonal employees.