COVINGTON — Covington is currently under budget for their Spring Street Project as they inch closer to its finishing touches. Brice Schmitmeyer, president of Access Engineering Solutions, explained during Covington Council’s meeting on Monday night that approximately $2.8 million was budgeted for the construction project back in August, but they are currently at approximately $2,263,000. Schmitmeyer stated he was “fully confident” that the village will continue to stay under budget.
The Spring Street Project is still continuing to wrap up, including a portion of curb that needs to be fixed.
“Basically, the contractor is going to be required to come back and replace about 70 feet of curb there and also the drive approach between the sidewalk and the curb,” Schmitmeyer said. “That’s not a cost to the village.”
“It’s just one of those unfortunate things,” Village Administrator Mike Busse said, explaining that they have spoken with the homeowner whose property is next to that curb. “But we really do need to fix it now.”
“You might notice there are a couple missing sidewalk sections based on a utility pole and power wire that need to be moved by DP&L yet,” Schmitmeyer said. “They (DP&L) are supposed to be here next week to move those, and then we’ll have the contractor come back in and fill all those sections.”
Schmitmeyer explained that at the intersection of Spring and Harrison streets, the road will need to be repaved and brought up a little bit.
“I drove it today, I drove it last week, it’s like a rollercoaster,” Schmitmeyer said.
Covington Council approved pay request #7 for the Spring Street Project for $590,042.90 during their meeting on Monday evening. Approximately $49,000 comes from the Ohio Public Works Commission. That pay request includes change order #3 for $72,963.48, which includes an adjustment of quantities for the project and other items such as the excavation of additional area due to bad soil.
“This is stuff we’ve talked about quite a bit in past meetings; it’s just always been held off,” Schmitmeyer said about the change order.
The project is also not closing out yet.
“This isn’t the final pay request,” Schmitmeyer said. Schmitmeyer said that there will be one more “much smaller” pay request in connection with the project.
Pay request #7 pays for everything installed, including the concrete and the finish of the asphalt. The village is going to hold a retainage of $25,000 for the project. There will be a maintenance guarantee that goes into next year.
Schmitmeyer also mentioned the new proposed school zone that will change on U.S. State Route 36. There will need to be a school zone extending from Owens Drive to the corporation line.
Busse mentioned that the village wants to lower the speed limit to 35 miles per hour on that section of U.S. State Route 36. In order to do that, however, the village will need to have an engineer conduct a speed study there.
“How much is that going to cost us?” council member Lois Newman asked.
Busse stated that they would know before they voted on it.
Next on the agenda, the council approved the downtown parking lot pay request #1 for $47,097.04.
Schmitmeyer stated that the project will come close to costing $50,000, with a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding $40,000 of that amount. The remaining amount of the cost will come from the village.
The council also approved the hiring of Aaron Zuhl as a full-time police officer with the village of Covington effective on Oct. 15. His starting pay will be $13.53 an hour.
Also on the order of new business, the council approved the purchase of eight new duty guns, eight backup guns, and associated accessories not to exceed $3,700.
Chief of Police Lee Harmon explained that their supplier, Glock, contacted him about a trade-up offer.
“We last purchased duty guns in 2007,” Harmon said.
If they turned in old weapons, the police department would only have to pay $100 for a new gun. They would also have to purchase accessories along with the gun, including holsters.
“It’s a really good deal,” Harmon said.
Council also approved the following items on their agenda:
• The purchase of Halloween candy, not to exceed $250
• The purchase of 72 Radio read water meters from Buckeye State Piper for $14,313.60
• The purchase of new computer servers from Royal Computer for $6,500, which includes setup
• Waiving the three-reading rule and approving Ordinance 18-15 to increase appropriations by $11,000 to pay $15,437.50 in interest to Covington Savings and Loan for the Spring Street Project
• The acceptance of rates of tax as determined by the Miami County Budget Commission for the year 2015
On the order of old business, the council held the first reading of ordinances. Ordinance 16-15 will revise income tax regulations to fit state requirements. The other ordinance, Ordinance 17-15, will authorize the village administrator to purchase property located at 10 S. High St. for $15,000. The property is vacant, and the purpose of this purchase is to create more parking for the downtown.
The council meeting also covered the village’s employee health insurance renewal. Liz Schneider, the village’s representative from McGohan Brabender, explained that the village’s premium rates will increase by about 10.9 percent.
The village is not able to shop around for better premiums as they will only be able to choose from community-rated plans due to healthcare reform and the village being considered a small business with fewer than 50 employees. Schneider said that she has some small businesses that are looking at increases of 150 to 200 percent on their premiums for the community-rated plans, which have little to no medical underwriting.
By changing their renewal date to the end of October for 2015 and 2016, the village is able to keep their current coverage until October 2017.
Schneider explained that by October 2017, the village will have to decide between a community-rated plan, banding together with other small businesses to purchase one large health insurance package, or having their employees purchase their health insurance from the federal healthcare exhange.
According to HealthCare.gov, businesses “with 50 employees or fewer can offer Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) plans to their employees, starting any month of the year.”
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall