Hilliard City Council's planning, projects and services committee was busy Monday, June 8, with the introduction of legislation to advance and fund numerous projects in the city this summer.

Hilliard City Council's planning, projects and services committee was busy Monday, June 8, with the introduction of legislation to advance and fund numerous projects in the city this summer.

The projects will include the Hilliard Civic and Cultural Arts Center, the first phase of Center Street improvements and a new recreational path in Roger A. Reynolds Municipal Park.

The forwarded legislation will be considered by City Council members at their next scheduled meeting at 7 p.m. June 22 at the Hilliard Municipal Building, 3800 Municipal Way.

Butch Seidle, the city's public-services director, introduced a resolution authorizing him to contract with the lowest and best bidder to complete improvements for the civic and cultural arts center, 5425 Center St.

"I expect we will award a bid in late July or early August," Seidle said.

The contract resolution authorizes an amount not to exceed $400,000 for construction and a 10 percent, or $40,000, contingency expense. Inspection services also are included for a total maximum spending authorization of $475,200.

The project entails roof repair and plumbing and electrical upgrades in advance of an anticipated expansion of the facility.

The resolution was forwarded to City Council with a positive recommendation.

Multiuse path contract

Another resolution forwarded with a positive recommendation would authorize Steve Mazer, Hilliard's recreation and parks director, to enter into a contract for the construction of a multiuse path on the north side of Municipal Park.

The 10-foot-wide path would connect the east and west entrances into the park on the south side of Scioto Darby Road, and a crosswalk would be built to connect the path to Lakeview Drive in the Hoffman Trails subdivision on the north side of Scioto Darby Road.

The contractor, Plain City-based Janco Inc., provided a bid of $432,322, which was less than the city engineer's estimate of $463,602, Seidle said.

Janco is the only company that tendered a bid and it has not performed any work in Hilliard. However, Seidle said, he is familiar with the company's work in other communities, including Dublin.

"Based on the reputation, I'm comfortable awarding the bid," Seidle said.

The project will be funded chiefly by a $379,500 grant the city received from the Clean Ohio Trails Fund through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Other contract resolutions

Committee members authorized Seidle to advertise for bids and contract with the lowest and best bidder for the first phase of Center Street improvements in Old Hilliard.

The city engineer's estimate for the project, which would include work on curbs, gutters and other improvements to Center Street near Hilliard's Station Park and the arts center, is $385,500.

The contract resolution authorizes a maximum expenditure of $520,425, which includes a 10 percent contingency for the construction and plan-review and inspection services.

Other contract resolutions authorized Seidle to purchase rock salt through a cooperative purchasing program and to enter into a contract for the city's 2015 street-maintenance and rehabilitation program.

Both were forwarded with a positive recommendation to City Council.

According to the legislation, the city will purchase about 1,500 tons of rock salt from American Rock Salt for $73.65 per ton, plus a $4-per-ton fee to pile it.

The city has about 400 tons on hand and the capacity to store 2,000 tons, Seidle said.

"This is about half the cost from last year," Seidle said, when prices averaged $142 per ton.

The city's 2015 street-maintenance and rehabilitation program amounts to $1.3 million, with alternate bids totaling $400,000, Seidle said.

Amendment with no recommendation

Committee members forwarded with no recommendation a resolution amending the city's codified ordinances to exempt transmission lines from underground placement.

Mayor Don Schonhardt asked City Council members to consider the amendment to remove what he called an "impediment."

"It's just removing the requirement (of a cost analysis); if you want it buried, you can still do it," Schonhardt said. "We're not eliminating the option."

Seidle concurred, adding that it is unnecessary to require the cost analysis of a project the city has no intention of funding.

City officials said it would cost the city $3 million if it required American Electric Power to bury new transmission lines needed for the data center being built by Amazon subsidiary Vadata at Britton Parkway and Hayden Run Road.

The new overhead power lines would be at a height of 85 feet rather than 65 feet and run along the east side of Britton Parkway, Schonhardt said.

City Council President Nathan Painter said he supported the legislation.

Councilman Albert Iosue said he was concerned about the amendment because in the event the city wanted buried utility lines, a company could refuse to do so even if the city was willing to pay for it.

"I've never found (AEP) to be uncooperative," Seidle said.

Iosue asked for further discussion at the June 22 City Council meeting.

In a related matter, committee members accepted legislation authorizing Seidle to enter into an agreement with the Ohio Development Services Agency concerning grants awarded in connection to projects associated with the data center.

Last month, the agency awarded a $690,000 grant that will be used for a $920,376 improvement project for Britton Parkway and Hayden Run Road.