GALLIPOLIS, Ohio — The Gallipolis City Commission met this week swearing in the new city auditor and met with Columbia Gas representatives.
Commissioners Michael Brown, Tony Gallagher, Beau Sang, Cody Caldwell, president and Michael Fulks, vice-president were present.
At the beginning of the meeting, Shelly Clonch took the oath of office, officially becoming the City of Gallipolis’ new city auditor.
An emergency resolution appointing Clonch as the auditor was presented to the commission and approved during the Sept. 7 commission meeting.
Central and southern Ohio’s Public Affairs Specialist Raquel Colon and Josh Akers, construction leader with Columbia Gas, spoke to the commission about a few ongoing projects across Gallipolis.
“We wanted to come before you guys today, just to kind of talk through, I know there were some concerns and questions regarding the road area of Grape Street and Third Avenue where we had to cut through that intersection in order to tie into one of our other mainline systems,” Colon said.
Colon said the contractors met with some city employees last week on the project and wanted to communicate with the commission on the restoration of the area and any other areas that may need cut through.
“Ideally, we don’t want to have to cut through any area where you guys have recently paved,” Colon said. “But in this case, we did have to cut through that section, which we had always known would be part of this particular project, in order for us to tie into an existing system, we would have to cut across that intersection. Which I understand there was some miscommunication.”
According to Colon, it is unsure where the miscommunication was made as she was not present at any previous meetings and there is now a interim city manager in place. Colon said there is a proposal for repairing the road.
“Columbia Gas proposes to repair the asphalt at the intersection of Grape and Third by installing a six-inch concrete base with a two-inch asphalt cap,” Colon said. “The size of the repair will be the size of the original excavation plus a six-inch cut back around the perimeter of the excavation area.”
Colon said a diagram was sent over for a visual representation, as well as a list of benefits to this approach including reduction of settlement, allows the asphalt cap to extend beyond the pipeline and creating a stronger force to protect against settlement.
Commissioner Fulks expressed displeasure with the restoration plan.
“We put off paving for over a year and we was told by you guys there would be no cuts across the divide,” Fulks said. “[You] do that six-inches on both sides back is not acceptable repair that it should be mailed back at least 25-foot back on both sides.”
“Restoration goes through our construction department, but from what I understand, these are the specs in which we’ve used for all of surrounding municipalities,” Colon said. “This is because we’ve been doing these program to specifically repair or install new main lines and service lines for all of our systems. This method has proven to be effective and makes the most sense.”
Colon asked Akers to add anything she may have missed or clarify anything.
“I think you summed it up,” Akers said. “That’s kind of our standard in an municipality we’ve ever worked in is to do that six-inch cutback with the six-inch low pour and a two-inch asphalt cap. We’ve been very successful with that in the past, really haven’t had any issues with that.”
Commissioner Sang said he agreed with Fulks and recalled bringing up himself about cutting into freshly cut roads.
“I was assured that, no, that’s not gonna happen. We’re coordinating it so that we could avoid that,” Sang said.
Fulks said he has had dozens of complaints from the community.
Colon said she was not over Gallipolis territory at the time and apologized for not knowing the events of those meetings.
“We did indicate that we would be working multiple projects and that we would be minimizing the amount of work that we would need to do along Grape Street by working the project we did last year,” Colon said. “I believe there was a meeting at some point that was held with our contractor and in that meeting was where there was some confusion as to whether or not we would be cutting through this road. But from our engineering perspective and from our Columbia Gas construction team, we always knew that we would have to tie into this particular system and it would require us to cut across the road from the way I understand.”
Colon apologized for the issues and offered to provide services and support for customer complaints the city may be receiving.
“I agree that we want to make sure that your streets are done correctly and that you’re happy with the results,” Colon said. “I certainly don’t mean to imply that we’re not willing to work under the guidelines that you’re giving us, we just want to be able to come to an understanding of what those guidelines are.”
Fulks brought forth issues with construction teams reportedly leaving behind trash and restorations not lasting.
Colon said for any of those concerns with team actions, potholes or broken up concrete where they have worked, they will send a team to review and remedy any issue. She asked the commission to send a list of addresses that need to be looked at for possible repairs.
Gallipolis interim city manager, Ronnie Lynch said he communicates with the engineering team regularly and they can drive the streets to list the problem areas and present to the commission to see if any areas were missed and then have a meeting to discuss how to fix the issues.
After the discussion with Columbia Gas, Lynch said there is currently a backorder on specific water meters the city needs and the price has gone up, so they are waiting for those to come in. He said some sidewalks are being looked at for repair.
In other commission news, County Commissioner Gene Greene spoke on the land bank project and asked for the commissioners input.
There were several ordinances under first reading. Ordinance 2021-34 would authorize payment of a bonus or a clothing allowance to all permanent, full-tome employees and certain part-time employees and all appointed officials.
Ordinance 2021-35 authorized payment of a bonus to the Gallipolis Fire Department firefighters.
Ordinance 2021-36 “provides premium pay to employees performing essential work during the COVID-19” pandemic.
Ordinance 2021-37 “authorizes and directs the city manager to enter a letter of agreement with Jeanne Ingles FNP-BC Family Practice for healthcare services for the City of Gallipolis employees and appointed officials.”
Ordinance 2021-28 amends” ordinance 2017-44, compensation for salaried employees and repealing ordinances setting compensation”.
Ordinance 2021-39 authorizes and directs city manager to “issue permits to charitable organizations to solicit from occupant of a vehicle pursuant to charter 371.06”.
Ordinance 2021-40 sets temporary appropriations for current expenses for 2022.
Ordinance 2021-42 authorizes the city manager to enter into an agreement with local government services for fiscal year 2021.
Ordinance 2021-43 accepts and rejects “bids for highway de-icing, salt, calcium chloride and cold mix.”
Brittany Hively is a staff writer with Ohio Valley Publishing. Follow her on Twitter @bhively1. Reach her at (740) 446-4303 ext 2555.