By Cecilia Fox
Record Herald Writer
TIPP CITY - Council approved the purchase of new playground equipment Monday night, discussed finances and trash collection contracts, and swore in a new police officer.
Mayor Pat Hale swore in Tipp City’s newest police officer Monday night. Kelli Rynders is a 2008 graduate of Brookville High School and has a a degree from Sinclair Community College in Criminal Justice. She placed first in the city’s civil service process.
Council congratulated Rynder and thanked her for joining the Tipp City police department.
“Congratulations to our new police officer. It’s always a pleasure when we have someone willing to come forward and serve our community,” Hale said.
Finance Director John Green provided Council with the first quarter financial report.
According to Green, general fund receipts were at $1,316,903 and expenses were at $1,787,769. All other fund receipts were at $13,428,394 while expenses were at $14,042,454.
The expenses were generally in line with the budget for the first quarter, Green said. The differences between receipts and expenses are primarily due to debt payments and capital improvement projects, he explained.
Council has decided to extend the refuse and recycling contract with Waste Management for another year.
The original four year contract with Waste Management expires this year, and included an option for up to three one-year contract extensions. A one year extension will result in a two percent rate increase, which council preferred to starting a new contract bidding process.
Council also approved the purchase of new playground equipment for City Park at a cost to the city of $30,331. The city joined with the Houston Galveston Area Council, a purchasing cooperative similar to Southwest Ohio Purchasers 4 Government.
The new equipment features a central play area with attached slides. A $27,283 grant from NatureWorks reduced the cost of the equipment from $52,864.
Council approved a resolution authorizing the Ohio Department of Transportation to perform bridge inspections on city-owned and maintained bridges. The inspections will be completed at no cost to the city in 2014, 2015, and 2016.
Previously, the city has contracted with private companies to perform bridge inspections. The city has six structures that are classified by ODOT as bridges and inspection services cost the city about $1,000 per year. Allowing ODOT to inspect will save the city $3,000 in the next three years.
Escrow or no?
Judy Tomb of Talismanic Properties approached Council with a request to use and escrow agreement as surety in the development of the Cedar Grove property.
According to Tomb, it is becoming more difficult and more expensive for developers to obtain the necessary the bonds cities like Tipp City require.
“That money is every bit as good as a bond,” Tomb said about escrow agreements.
A performance bond, which Tipp City requires, is a surety bond issued by a bank to guarantee that a contractor completes a project. An escrow agreement involves assets put into the custody of a third party to be retained until the completion of a project.
Allowing an escrow agreement to be used as surety would require changing the city’s codes, which Council is against. Troy is one of the only cities in the area to allow escrow agreements to be used as surety. Huber Heights, Vandalia, Piqua, Sidney, Englewood and other several communities require bonds.
“I am disinclined to rework our statutes and our ordinances, especially when eight of the nine communities have not done that yet either,” Gibson said, referring to the communities surveyed about surety bonds.
Tomb argued that this decision is not about what other communities do, but what is best for Tipp City.
Council also approved four ordinances levying assessments for the construction of curbs, gutters, sidewalks, and driveway approaches for four recent road reconstruction projects.
The projects include the Franklin Street, Main Street, Dow Street and South Third Street reconstruction projects. Private property owners will have 30 days after the passage of these ordinances to pay the assessments for the new curbs, gutters, sidewalks, and driveway approaches. Otherwise, the assessments can be placed on their taxes and collected in ten annual installments. The work has already been completed. Now the residents/property owners on those streets are being assessed for their portion of the sidewalk and curb reconstruction costs.