Licking County News

Pataskala

City selects Stantec as engineering firm

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Pataskala City Council decided Jan. 22 to contract with the Stantec engineering firm of Columbus for services in 2013.

City Council voted 6-1 in favor of the contract, with Mike Fox dissenting. Those in favor were: Bernard Brush, Mike Compton, Dan Hayes, Bryan Lenzo, Merissa McKinstry and Pat Sagar.

Stantec was founded in 1954 and has 12,000 employees in 190 locations in the United States and four international sites, according to the company's website.

Last year, the city contracted with EMH&T of Columbus for engineering services. That contract expired Dec. 31.

The city paid EMH&T a weekly rate of $1,666, which totaled $86,632 for work incurred in 2012.

The city has budgeted $90,000 for retaining Stantec, said Finance Director James Nicholson. The contract requires monthly payments of $7,500.

The contract also requires Stantec to provide itemized bills each month and stipulates "any services outside of the retainer services shall be paid at such rates as agreed to by the city and the consultant."

It also allows the city to hire other engineers for special projects without Stantec's approval: "The city will have the ability to contract with another reputable engineering firm at the city's discretion."

Fox said he voted against the contract with Stantec because the city needs to hire its own full-time engineer.

"I personally believe when you use outside entities like that, the best interest of city is not always served," he said.

In other business Jan. 22, City Council:

* Approved unanimously an ordinance authorizing City Administrator Tim Boland to contract with the Ohio Department of Transportation to resurface Broad Street this year.

City Council voted to waive the second and third readings of the ordinance.

The state intends to resurface Broad Street within the Pataskala city limits. The project is estimated to cost $2.5 million and the city's share is $500,000. The city will spend another $250,000 to improve sidewalks along Broad Street.

* Voted 6-1, with Brush dissenting, to hire a part-time parks coordinator.

The city has been using a volunteer parks board to operate programs in the parks since 2009, when the parks department was cut out of the budget. Local groups also help with maintenance and development of the parks.

Nicholson said the city has budgeted $21,300 for the position. The funds include salary and the city's contribution to the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, Medicare and workers' compensation. It assumes the coordinator would work no more than 1,500 hours a year and not be eligible for benefits.

The position will be funded through the city's recreation fund, which includes money from park fees and from the general fund, Nicholson said.

The coordinator will work for the city's public-services director, "planning, organizing and coordinating the activities in and the usage of the city's many parks," according to the city's job description.

* Voted unanimously to open the Thomas J. Evans Foundation Park's gates at Bent Tree Lane and John Reese Parkway to allow better traffic flow.

Fox, who made the motion, said it would facilitate traffic to area subdivisions.

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