Emergency repair grant for street OK’d

The Ohio Public Works Commission has approved a grant for more than $61,000 to help the city of Marietta with an emergency repair on Bellevue Street, Mayor Joe Matthews announced during Thursday’s regular Marietta City Council meeting.

The OPWC funding will be used to repair a landslip problem on Bellevue that has existed near the Lancaster Street intersection for nearly two years. That end of Bellevue Street has been closed to traffic since the fall of 2012.

The total project is expected to cost $76,460, with the city paying the matching funds.

In other business, council approved the acquisition of 0.665 acres along Millcreek Road from Victor and Karen Rudolph. The property is needed for right of way as the city, county and Ohio Department of Transportation begin a project to widen Millcreek Road from the intersection with Colegate Drive.

“The project will hopefully be completed while school is out for the summer,” said Councilwoman Kathy Downer, D-at large, who chairs council’s streets and transportation committee.

Also on Thursday, council narrowly approved $16,300 to pay the salary of Roy McCammon for part-time inspection services over the next year for city paving projects.

Council members Roger Kalter, D-1st Ward, and Tom Vukovic, D-4th Ward, voted against the measure, citing concerns that in past years McCammon has overlooked faulty asphalt paving projects.

“I think this is a poor use of city money, so I will not support it,” Kalter said.

Vukovic said he has complained about project inspections in the past.

“I would hope the city administration hears our concerns and our engineering department will review records and reports made by the project inspector,” he said.

Mayor Matthews said the administration understands.

“But it is difficult to find someone who will do this job on a part time basis, and it’s hard to find anyone to do inspections for the amount of money we’re paying,” he said. “And the administration does hear your concern.”

Councilman Mike McCauley, D-2nd Ward, noted the city would have no paving inspection services at all if the funding was not approved for McCammon’s salary.

“Asphalt paving season is upon us, and if we don’t pass this, we won’t have an inspector,” he said.

Earlier this month city engineer Joe Tucker recommended that council approve McCammon to continue providing the inspection services as he has for the last several years.

Tucker noted McCammon is qualified, having provided inspection services for ODOT in the past. He also assured members of the streets and transportation committee that the engineering department and McCammon had recently received additional training to help improve paving project inspections.

The funding was approved on a 5-2 vote.