Reynoldsburg City Council gave city officials permission Monday to pursue applications for two grants: one for assistance to finance painting the city's water tower and one to help pay to replace two salt/plow trucks.

Reynoldsburg City Council gave city officials permission Monday to pursue applications for two grants: one for assistance to finance painting the city's water tower and one to help pay to replace two salt/plow trucks.

Safety Service Director Pam Boratyn said the city will seek funds from the Ohio Department of Development's diesel emissions reduction grant program to help pay for the new trucks.

"We have seven trucks, but two of those are our oldest trucks," she said. "They're 16 years old and if we can get them replaced, we can reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by a significant amount, which is a good thing toward getting good points in being funded."

Boratyn said the two old trucks will be salvaged and their diesel engines destroyed because the newer model engines are more eco-friendly, emitting less harmful fumes into the air.

"So the reason for the grant is the state is trying remove from use older diesel engines that produce a lot of air pollution," Boratyn said. "If they can invest in getting you to buy these newer ones where the emissions are not as bad, then that's better."

The city would still need to pay the full amount of $250,000 up front to purchase the two trucks, but if the grant is awarded, the state would reimburse the city 80 percent of the total amount, Boratyn said.

"So we would wind up getting two new salt/plow trucks for about $50,000 which is really a good deal," she said.

The application needs to be completed and sent to the department of development by March 2. Boratyn said the city should be notified by May 1 whether it received the grant.

Council also gave Mayor Brad McCloud the go-ahead to submit a pre-application form to the Ohio EPA seeking financial assistance from the Ohio Water Revolving Loan Account to paint the city's water tower.

Director of engineering Jim Miller said this grant application is a good opportunity for Reynoldsburg to possibly get the entire painting project 100-percent funded.

Miller said the city had planned to pay for the project, but money may be available from the economic stimulus bill recently passed by Congress.

He said of the $8.2-billion expected to come to Ohio, around $23-million is being taken out for waterworks projects in the state that are "shovel-ready projects" or will be sold before November this year.

"All we've asked council for is permission to submit an application to get a name on a list," he said. "Nobody knows how this is going to work yet because it's all so quickly developing. But what our hope is, we have a construction-ready project and that is painting the water tower. We're going to sell bids next month, then award it, so we will probably be done with construction before the deadline in November.

"If you have a project that is ready to go, you are given priority," Miller said.

He said bids will be sold for the water tower painting project on March 12 and will be opened on March 27, with work to begin around May 1.

The work is expected to cost between $500,000 and $850,000, depending on what the project includes. Miller said one option would be to recoat the outside of the water tower at a cost of about $500,000. A second option would include stripping and recoating the outside of the tower at an expected cost of $850,000.

"It depends on where the bids come in and if we receive financial assistance and that is going to largely help us determine what alternate we want to select," Miller said. "Or the grant could pay of a part of it it's really unknown at this point, but we're asking for it to pay for 100 percent."

He said the pre-application needs to be sent to the Ohio EPA by March 15.

The water tower is located at the corner of East Broad Street and Taylor Road. Miller estimates it will take three to four months to finish the work.

He expects the water tower will be taken out of service during the project and when that happens, the city will get its water from a nearby Columbus water tower.

Reynoldsburg's water tower holds 1-million gallons and the Columbus tower holds 2-million gallons, Miller said.

dowen@thisweeknews.com