The Canal Winchester Times

Groveport taking steps to hire city engineer

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Groveport city officials are looking to spend some money in order to save some money.

Groveport City Council heard the first reading of an ordinance Nov. 12 that would establish a new city engineer position, which would replace the current contract the city has with EMH&T.

City Administrator Marsha Hall said hiring a full-time employee would provide Groveport savings as well as better oversight.

"We did an analysis of the last six years, and other than the one year of severe economic downturn, we found we would've had significant savings with a full-time engineer on staff, plus we'd be able to provide better customer service and better oversight," Hall said.

According to the proposed legislation, the new position will be a pay grade 23, which has a minimum annual salary of slightly more than $65,000 and a maximum of about $104,000, plus benefits.

The current agreement with EMH&T is on a per-use basis, without retainer. However, the city previously had paid a retainer of $4,400 per month on top of the per-use costs which, according to Hall, could vary greatly depending on the project.

"We're hoping to hire someone close to the beginning of the year. We're under contract with EMH&T for the calendar year and we've talked with them to make sure they'll be available as we go through the transition," she said.

Finance Director Jeff Green estimated the city spent between $350,000 and $400,000 over the past year for engineering services.

"This year, for instance, we have a number of costs related to the Town Center project, the Spiegel Drive reconstruction and the Port Road Project," he said.

"Additionally we have an annual contract with EMH&T that covers basic engineering services, and a contract for hosting and maintenance of the city's GIS," Green said.

The legislation was expected to be discussed by the full council meeting as a committee of the whole on Nov. 18, after ThisWeek's press time. If it is approved as an emergency, the usual 30-day waiting period before it could take effect would be waived. That means the city could post the job immediately.

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