St. C. heats up over I-70 project

ST. CLAIRSVILLE The regular city council meeting grew heated Monday night with regard to the city’s participation in the I-70 improvement project.

Council?Member Libby Heintzelman raised questions about the proposed project. She said she was concerned that while work on the bridge would be paid for entirely by ODOT, she opposes the work on Newland Road because she is unsure how much money the city will be responsible for. She said the road will call for a 20-percent match.

In a prior discussion, Service Director Dennis Bigler said he doubted the city would be required to pay a contribution into the TRAC application. He said there was no plan to pay into the project and any commitment to do so could not be made without a vote in council. He also pointed out the highway safety improvements and the estimated 1,000 jobs during seven years of economic improvement that the area stands to reap in a successful project. He noted the planned $38 million in development expected in the first phase of the project, with letters of intent in place.

Heintzelman also said that Bigler was correct in his answer to a question from the prior meeting. The city currently has no TRAC funding committed to the project and the city is not currently under any obligation.

Heintzelman also extended apologies to former Finance Director Jill Lucidi for not fully investigating the process of her appointment. Heintzelman publically added that she felt misled in the matter, but when asked she did not care to elaborate after the meeting.

She inquired about the formation and function of the city’s Community Improvement Corp. Mayor Robert Vincenzo said the CIC was created to empower the city to purchase or dispose of property without going through public bid. The CIC was created primarily for the sale of the Clarendon Hotel.

Heintzelman inquired further. The CIC does not received grants but may ask for funds to be released from the city.

President Pro-Tempe Terry Pugh reported assisting to arrange a tour of the city’s water and wastewater facilities for council members, with a tour of the electric substation and the garage to be scheduled later.

Bigler also reported receiving quotes from two companies for paving of Route 40 and 9. He pointed out that paving the half-mile, 10-foot strip that has seen damage from erosion. The lowest bid is close to $40,000 and the area is to be paved in its entirety next year. Council will consider a patch fix until then.

In answer to another question, the city has hired a Tax Increment Finances attorney.

Police Chief Jeff Henry relayed a request from the coordinator of the National Day of Prayer to block Main Street in front of the court house May 1, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and divert traffic down North Market Street and at Route 9 and Marietta and Main streets.

Also, two estimates have been obtained for a traffic study for speed reduction on South Marietta and parts of Main Street. Costs are $25,000 or $12 hundred. The area includes all of State Route 9 from I-70 to the cemetery and from Scott Alley to Spring Park on Main Street, 1.5 miles of Route 9 and sixth tenths from Scott Alley to Spring Park.

Henry noted that the city is reviewing different snow ordinances.

“The guys out in the plow trucks have to dodge cars all day long. It’s ridiculous when people have driveways and they can pull their cars in off the street,” he said.

He also reported on progress on a three-way stop at High Street and Windermere. The cost of placing two flashing Stop signs would be $1,700 each. Henry estimated a total cost of $2,400 if the city installs them.

Also, on April 1, four officers attended Advanced Emergency Vehicle Operations Training held by the highway patrol in Lexington. The rest of the officers will attend in August.

Also, Henry recommended increasing fines on parking to $20 per violation. Council voted to do. The law director will be consulted to determine if a motion is necessary.

In other matters, a planning committee meeting is set for May 6, 6 p.m., including a public hearing for the preliminary plat for St. Clair Commons and a revised preliminary plan for the St. Clair Commons Health and Quality of Life campus. All are welcome to attend.

Council passed a resolution authorizing the city’s participation in the ODOT cooperative purchasing program. Heintzelman voted in opposition.

Council established an indigent drivers interlock and alcohol monitoring fund.

Brian Kralovic was recommended by the mayor for a seat on the Stormwater Management Committee.

In matters of utilities, residents are reminded to install their water meters in place.

The fire district received 15 applications for the position of fire chief. An interview committee was formed. Applicants will go to the board April 23. The board also approved the purchase of a new engine truck. A special meeting will be held today at 4 p.m. to discuss a personnel issue.

A cleanup day at the park will be held April 15. A swim camp is being considered.

The city workers were thanked for their repair labor regarding issues of spring water on Iona Drive.

An Easter Egg hunt for children ages 1-12 will be held April 12 at the recreation center at 9 a.m.

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