Thursday, July 31, 2014

Chardon Resident Addresses Road Issues With Trustees
April 10, 2014 by Josh Echt | No Comments

"We're trying to do the best we can with the funds we have." Michael Brown

Glenmora Drive resident Michele Brewer said she has enjoyed living in the rural atmosphere of Chardon Township for the past decade-and-a-half.

But her enjoyment has hit a few chuckholes — make that a ton of chuckholes — recently, due to road surfacing issues on Glenmora, she told trustees last Wednesday.

“It’s horrific,” she said to trustees Chuck Strazinsky, Mike Brown and Steve Borawski during the public comment section of the meeting. “It’s a patchwork quilt, but not a pretty one.”

Trustees said her road’s issues were understood and had already been documented, but that the township’s hands were tied due to lack of funding.

Brewer said a crater erupted on her street.

Road Superintendent John Washco was called in, along with his crew, to fix it. Brewer said they were one of the first residents to move into the subdivision during its completion in the late 1990s.

The sides of the road are collapsing as well, she said.

“My husband and I have motorcycles, and we have to be careful when driving down our street,” Brewer added. “Our road is worse than some township roads out there.”

The subdivision, which contains 33 houses, is about a mile long, she added.

Brown said the road deteriorated quickly due to the late 1990s-housing boom, which precipitated fast construction of developments.

However, quality suffered, namely, in the roads. For instance, the Glenmora development — and other 1990s-era subdivisions in the township — was constructed with a mere 4-inch asphalt covering over a clay base.

“It’s not just your road, as there are others,” Brown told Brewer.

To repair both Glenmora and nearby Roryanna Drive, it would cost roughly $1 million to perform concrete stabilization and asphalt resurfacing, Brown said.

The township alone operates on a $2 million budget, of which $400,000 is used for the fire levy, said Fiscal Officer Joan Windnagel.

The township is responsible for maintaining 37.5 miles of roads, while the state and county maintain their roads that pass through the township, such as U.S. Route 6 and Auburn Road.

The state can apply for Ohio Public Works Commission Issue 2 funds, but funding for qualifying projects is determined by priority. A thoroughfare such as Colburn Road or a major avenue is higher-priority than a residential road.

“Your road is a cul-de-sac,” Borawski told Brewer.

Although the township sets aside funds annually for road repair, unexpected circumstances pose financial issues. A storm last July precipitated the need for a $45,000 repair to a section of Wisner Road, while a common tile collapse on Henning Drive caused more problems and the need to spend more money.

“Plus, that area still needs to be evaluated for possible installation of structures to access the common tile,” Washco said.

Windnagel also said last year’s loss of inheritance tax funds from the state and the loss of the local government fund deprived the township of funding normally used to help the road and bridge fund.

Brown said he wants to get more feedback from residents about situations such as the Glenmora road snafu.

“I don’t want them thinking we are taking their tax dollars,” he said.

Strazinsky said it “all boils down to money.”

Brewer credited Washco and his crew for responding in a timely manner.

Brown said the biggest issue with road damage was due to water getting underneath the road surface and causing ditching issues. But he also said there was a “catch-22″ with the situation.

“How much money do you put into it? Do you put in the bare minimum or do you try to get on the OPWC funding priority list for 2015-16?” Brown asked.

He said $959,000 would be spent on the entire upcoming Colburn Road project. The township utilizes Issue 2 funds for the Colburn project and is splitting the balance with Concord Township.

“It’s $300,000 from Chardon Township, $300,000 from Concord and $400,000 from an OPWC grant,” Washco said.

Strazinsky said the township has over 4,000 homes and although he said the Glenmora situation was a problem, other homes had to be considered as well.

“Everyone has the same priority,” Strazinsky said. “All of us got screwed when these developments went up in the 1990s.”

Communication is vital, Brown told Brewer and her husband.

“If you see something, let John know. He’s resolved to do the best he can,” Brown said of the road superintendent.

“Don’t think you’re bothering us. Even though John called you the ‘pothole lady,’” Strazinsky said as Brewer laughed. “That’s our job, to serve the residents.”

Trustees brought up the possibility of a road restoration levy, but said they wanted to research more before making a decision on it.

They said although a levy seemed like a good idea, repair work to existing roads must be completed first. Currently, the road levy that funds the road department is 2 mills, Brown said.

Brown said by the residents coming out to complain en masse, they were “doing their part” in getting the road onto the state’s radar as an important project.

“You communicating with us is what’s supposed to happen,” he said. “It’s what will help get things done. We’re trying to do the best we can with the funds we have.”

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