CIRCLEVILLE — As part of the ongoing 2020 budget process, city administration and staff laid out the service and utility departments priorities for the 2020 capital fund project during the most recent service and utility committee meeting of Circleville City Council.
Terry Frazier, Circleville Service Director, had much of the service and utility department supervisors present to answer questions from City Council on their requests.
Frazier and the supervisors presented four capital requests that would be funded through fund 306, the City’s capital improvement fund. Those included a new maintenance van, a large photo copy machine for city maps and plans, funds to fix sidewalks to be used in emergency situations, and a new hotbox for fixing streets.
Frazier said currently there isn’t any funding to address sidewalk issues and repairs outside of paving funds that weren’t the intended use.
“In an emergency we could use this funding request to take care of a particular hazard immediately,” Frazier commented. “Long range it’s prudent to look at an area or citywide assessment of sidewalks, and get adjacent property owners notice to repair the sidewalk or contract with someone to repair the sidewalk.”
Frazier said if the owners then didn’t respond to the notice, the City could go in and repair the sidewalk with those funds and then assess the homeowner’s property taxes.
“If a trip hazard comes up or it’s something we need to take care of right away, regardless of the assessment or not, this funding could be used for that,” he added.
Frazier said the requested copy and scanner machine is a “large format copy machine” which would be able to create copies in excess of 36 inches on one side for the engineering department.
“We can scan old maps and copy maps, particularly the scanning is important,” Frazier continued. “We have an old black and white scanner that just failed on us again.”
Frazier gave the floor to streets supervisor Dane Patterson to talk about the need for the maintenance van.
“We have two guys that do building maintenance and the old van is a 1997,” Patterson said.
“Back in the middle of the year, the transmission went out and we found out the transmission was more than van was worth. It’s beyond economical repair.
“The buildings are all going to be here and it’s something we’re always going to need,” Patterson added, speaking of the van. “Why buy something used when this is a van we’ll need 15, 20 years from now. We’re using a 1978 dump truck now. Once we get a van, I’ll pull the truck they’re using and put a dump bed on it to replace a dump truck, and we’re back to where we need to be.”
When it came to the hotbox, which is used to keep asphalt hot so it can be laid down and make a better fit than the current method of cold patch.
“In the wintertime we’re limited in what we can do on fixing potholes,” he continued. “Cold patch has been around forever. Cold mix is a temporary patch that doesn’t stay. We put it in the hole and two days later it’s out. It’s just not a great thing.
“Now they have these hotboxes where we can get blacktop and keep it hot in the wintertime,” he stated. “It’s a four-ton unit that you pull behind a truck. For us, it’s the greatest thing in the world because we’re not going back fixing the same hole over and over again.”
Other priorities, such as those from the other departments, like the safety committee who heard requests from the police and fire departments, will be or have been discussed in other committees and will be discussed by full council after the start of the new year. Currently the only capital requests in the 2020 budget are those the City is obligated to by contract or law.
Barry Keller, City Council member and chair of the finance committee, said of the requests by the two departments, to prioritize those being made out of the City’s capital projects fund since it’s tighter than the enterprise funds that are used only for utilities.
“Four of those requests are out of the capital project fund, if you could prioritize those requests for us it would be helpful,” Keller noted.
Frazier prioritized their requests as a new maintenance van, the hot patch mixer, sidewalk funds and the new copy machine, in that order.
Historically, City Council approves a budget by the end of the year, as required by law, and then refines it in the spring to make it a balanced budget ahead of the April 1 deadline set by the Ohio Revised Code. Council will hold the second reading of the proposed 2020 budget tonight with the final reading, and probably approval on Dec. 17. The budget is done in this manner to account for yearend actuals and more accurate revenue projections