Bexley News

Coping with winter

City OK despite spending more on salt, overtime


The unpredictable winter weather and the "polar vortex" that put central Ohio and much of the Midwest in a deep freeze early last week left Bexley relatively unscathed, Mayor Ben Kessler said.

"Thank goodness that we didn't have some of the issues that we saw in other areas of town," said Kessler, who is also serving as acting service director while the city searches for a replacement for former director, Bill Harvey.

Harvey was elected to the city auditor's post in November.

Kessler said there were water main breaks on Roosevelt and Dawson avenues and at the Sessions Village residential complex at East Broad Street and Parkview Avenue.

"Individual residents have had issues with pipes bursting in their homes" due to the frigid temperatures, Kessler said.

"I don't have any numbers on that, but I know our water workers have responded to a lot of residents to help them out."

Kessler has been working with Service Superintendent Andy Bashore to assign staff to address weather-related issues.

While he said he could not yet provide an exact tally of overtime costs, "we have had quite a bit of overtime in December, especially because of the snow that was occurring in the middle of the night. We were having people come in right before the (morning) rush hour."

The city has spent more on salt this winter than it did last year.

"We've taken the last delivery that fulfills our contract for the season and we've negotiated an additional tonnage," Kessler said.

The city pays $48.69 per ton for salt under its current contract and will pay in mid-$50s per ton for additional shipments this winter, Kessler said.

During the temperature plunge last week, the only Recreation and Parks Department programs that were canceled were the preschool program, which closes when Bexley City Schools close, and athletic programs that are held in public school buildings, Recreation Director Michael Price said.

No city buildings closed during the deep freeze, Kessler said.

"I think this is an important time for us to stay open and be accessible," he said, "if not more accessible than normal."