Streetsboro OKs $65,000 road study

By Wendy Sufrin Record-Courier staff writer Published:

The 4,900-foot project will be paid for by assessing the area's mostly industrial property owners. The work area will extend from where Wellman Road starts near Interstate 480 to the Aurora-Hudson connector road. The Aurora-Hudson connector road from Frost Road to Wellman Road will also receive attention, as will Aurora-Hudson Road from the connector road to Automated Packaging's property line. Automated Packaging is on Philipp Parkway but its employee parking lot is accessible via Aurora-Hudson Road.

On deck to conduct the $65,000 study is URS Greiner, an engineering firm with which the city conducts considerable business.

However, Mayor Sally Henzel objected to the study and the project, saying such an extensive road project is unnecessary when less costly solutions could be applied.

"This is an astronomical amount for just a study," she said. "Why do we have to put in the equivalent of a superhighway when we have roads here that people live on that need attention?"

Henzel also said the city's engineering department should be able to handle the entire project rather than outsourcing the job.

"The idea of hiring a full-time city engineer was to do away with all these consulting jobs," she said.

Council countered by saying the engineering department had pronounced the study far beyond its capabilities, that the roads will not last much longer as they are or even with short-term improvements and that it is more fair to require companies that received tax abatements to foot the bill than it is to ask all the city's taxpayers.

Council also overrode Henzel's objections regarding a decision to spend $12,000 for professional liability insurance for the city's seven building inspectors.

"That is an excessive amount for additional insurance," Henzel said. "The easy way of insuring these people would be to make them part-time employees. That would cost $4,000 to $5,000 as opposed to $12,000."

The inspectors will continue to work for the city under part-time independent contracts. Council could have freed the lesser sum _ which City Finance Director Bill Weber said would be needed to cover the inspectors' pensions and Medicare _ to make those same people part-time employees.

Council's decision to go with the higher figure and retain the inspectors on a contractual basis also means the city will be paying for two insurance policies until all pending claims are concluded, Henzel said.

Also on Monday, council approved a $500 transfer from the mayor's secretary's wage account to her overtime account.

Council warned Henzel that the method of transfer means her secretary, Cathy Hamilton, could face a layoff near the end of the year if her wage account continues to be depleted in favor of overtime.

"We've gone to the limit and there will be no more overtime. I will not sign for it," Henzel said.

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