A long and winding Chardon Township road repair saga took a turn for the better last Thursday.
Trustees unanimously approved applying for a 10-year, $275,000 State Infrastructure Bank loan to help defray road repair costs in the Rory Glen subdivision.
The road project is estimated to cost $430,000, Trustee Michael Brown said.
“We plan on repaying the loan within four years,” he added. “We did a longer term purely in case an emergency arose, then we aren’t locked into a certain payment.”
The balance of the project will be funded from various funds, including the township’s road and bridge fund, the parks fund and a land use fund, said Fiscal Officer Joan Windnagel.
The roads in the subdivision have solid bases, but their asphalt contains potholes and alligatoring. There are 15 bad spots on Roryanna and 19 on Glenmora drives, added Road Superintendent John Washco.
The trustees first passed a resolution of convenience and necessity at the July 2 trustees meeting, which stated the township would apply for a $440,000 SIB loan only if the interest costs were less than $18,000 over the loan’s lifespan.
Both Brown and Trustee Chuck Strazinsky had to convince Trustee Steve Borawski to get on board July 2. The resolution of convenience and necessity requires a unanimous vote by all three trustees, Strazinsky said.
Brown said the township then called a special meeting July 10 to figure out a new course of action after trustees were told interest costs were higher than expected.
Trustees amended the July 2 resolution to eliminate the condition that interest costs of the loan must not exceed $18,000. Rather, the new resolution does not specify any condition related to interest costs.
Prior to last Thursday’s vote on the smaller loan, trustees had debated whether or not to either apply for the loan or to go ahead with a roughly $135,000 chip-seal and cement-stabilization project as a temporary measure to buy time.
“The option to chip-seal over the road’s existing cement base was red-flagged by the engineer’s office, and it’s not a guarantee the chip-seal would make it through the winter,” Brown said.
Had the trustees gone ahead with paying to chip-seal and cement-stabilize the road, the construction schedule would have started later than recommended, in the fall.
Cold weather is a hindrance to that kind of road repair, Geauga County Engineer Joe Cattell said earlier this month.
Last Thursday, trustees also debated over the length of the loan, discussing a four-year proposal before voting on the final 10-year length.
“We can use the funds (taken out of the township park) and pay down the loan faster,” Brown said, noting the loan conditions also stated the first year was interest-free.
“By reducing the principal that much that first year, that lowers our loan costs in the future,” he said.
Strazinsky said taking money from the park fund to help pay for the road repairs was a hard decision, but noted the function of a township was to maintain roads and cemeteries first and foremost.
“We have to do what we’re supposed to do,” he said.
Trustees decided to go with a longer loan length after listening to resident feedback that stated a longer loan repayment time would allow them to keep more funds in reserve.
Also, a longer repayment time would save the township costs even if emergencies came up, such as a Wisner Road streambed project that cost the township an unexpected $45,000 last year.
The residents said it was hard to drive on their roads and unsafe.
“We’re dealing with Kabul and Baghdad when it comes to these roads,” Glenmora Drive resident Steve Brewer said.
Brown said he was surprised at the road deteriorating so fast, as it was not in that bad of a shape in fall 2013.
However, between February and April, the road’s condition went downhill. Even the county engineer’s office was concerned by the situation, the trustee said.
“It’s become a safety issue,” he added.
Deputy Engineer Shane Hajjar said the project completion would take between two-and-a-half to three weeks.
Trustees will next meet at 7:30 p.m. July 24 to open bids for the project, Windnagel said.
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