Licking County News

2013 plans

Road projects again at top of Pataskala's agenda


Pataskala City Council in 2013 is expected to continue improving roads by issuing debt and plans to contract with an engineering company instead of hiring a full-time city engineer.

City Council approved $2.25 million to complete projects on the following roads: Mill Street from Broad Street to Columbia Road; Court Road; Hollow Road from Alward Road to Headleys Mill Road; Third Avenue from North End Drive to First Avenue; and the following roads in the Bright Waters subdivision: Veasey, Robin, Hickory and Adams lanes.

The city will issue debt for the road projects, said Finance Director James Nicholson.

The debt includes $500,000, Pataskala's required match for the state's $2.5 million Broad Street resurfacing project within its city limits, and another $250,000 for related improvements to sidewalks.

City Administrator Timothy Boland said Pataskala is required to contribute 20 percent of the total cost of the project.

Work on Broad Street is expected to begin after May 1.

"The year 2013 is going to be so much more, because you're doing a major road like Broad Street," Boland said. "It requires coordination with businesses, property owners and residents to make the project as smooth as possible and not disruptive."

Boland said the city had hoped to complete sidewalks along Broad Street from Main Street to the eastern city limits, but the project cost is estimated at $1.8 million.

City Council agreed Dec. 10 not to include any more debt for that project, opting instead to use the $250,000 already included in the budget to rework a smaller section of the sidewalk.

Also on Dec. 10, City Council agreed to issue another $2.4 million in debt to make improvements to Mink Street, following the announcement that the city will receive a $3.6 million grant from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and is in line to receive a $375,000 grant and $125,000 interest-free loan from the Ohio Public Works Commission.

The funds would be used to reconstruct 2.5 miles of Mink Street from Broad Street to Morse Road.

The two grants are on different timelines -- the OPWC funding will be received in 2013-14 and the MORPC funding in 2016-17 -- which means the project will be completed in two phases.

With both funding sources, the city expects to receive $4.25 million in grants and loans to fund more than half of the $8 million project.

The 2013 budget includes matching funds for the first phase of the project, Nicholson said.

The city will use the 2011 Roadway Asset Management Plan to complete road projects.

The RAMP identified an estimated $17 million in road repairs. In 2012, the city completed the first phase of road improvements, spending $3.2 million on nine road projects and improving seven miles of roadway.


A new engineering firm -- for now

At one point last year, City Council was leaning toward hiring an in-house engineer to replace its contracted engineering firm, EMH&T of Columbus.

Ultimately, council members decided to contract for engineering services again this year, but probably not with EMH&T. EMH&T was paid $86,632 in 2012 for contracted work; its contract expired Dec. 31.

The city likely will part ways with the firm because several council members have questioned EMH&T's work.

Councilman Mike Fox said discussion about hiring an in-house city engineer will continue this year.