Improvements to government center OK’d

COVINGTON — The Covington Council approved improvement projects for the village’s government center, including HVAC and circuit improvements, during their meeting on Tuesday evening.

The council approved contracting with Automated Solutions group to provide and install remote valves and sensors on the HVAC system at the government center, which is located at 1 S. High St. The estimated cost is $5,385. Mayor Ed McCord said that the valves and sensors work with the previously purchased HVAC control systems.

Village Administrator Mike Busse said these improvements were a continuation of work that began in 2018 to repair the control system that has been malfunctioning for years.

“I don’t know how much council knows about it, but there’s some days when you can’t hardly stand it in here because it’s so hot, and there’s some days you can’t hardly stand it in here because it’s so cold,” Busse said.

Busse said that the issue is with heating and air conditioning controls in offices that do not work, and he added that the project will fix critical areas of the building.

The council then approved contracting with Heapy Engineering to design the emergency generator circuits to allow the government center to be fully functional during a power outage. The cost was estimated at $2,950.

The council also held the first reading of an ordinance to approve the revised Covington employee manual.

“We have distributed copies to the police department and to the street and water (departments),” McCord said.

The council later approved contracting with Cleman’s Nelson to develop employee job descriptions, a project that will complement the employee manual project at a cost of $3,600.

“This is the firm that helped us write the employee manual in the first place, so it’s a continuation of that project,” Busse said.

The council then heard the first reading of an ordinance declaring the storage of tires outside of buildings a nuisance. Busse said that tires collecting rain water outside is an “ideal place” for mosquitoes to breed. It is an ordinance that the planning and zoning committee first talked about two years ago.

“I really think it’s the right way to move to control these piles of tires that are starting to appear,” Busse said.

The village is also continuing their right-of-way acquisition project for the High Street reconstruction project. The council waived the three-reading rule and approved entering into an agreement with O.R. Colan Associates, LLC for real estate appraisal and right-of-way acquisition services at a cost of approximately $23,350 for 2019. Busse said this is a continuation of last year’s work. The total cost of the project is approximately $30,150 for work done in 2018 and work still to be done.

During a previous meeting in October, Busse said the village needed a right-of-way specialist to work on issues with the two properties that the village acquired on High Street as those properties will be involved in the reconstruction project. This will be necessary for the village to receive its expected grant funding from the Ohio Department of Transportation for approximately $2.1 million.

The council also approved hiring Russel McNeal as a full-time probationary police officer.

The council then authorized Busse to advertise for bids for the Wastewater Treatment Plant phase two blower replacement project. The project is estimated as $315,974.

During the mayor’s report, McCord thanked Busse and the village employees for their efforts of keeping roads clear during Winter Storm Harper over the weekend.

“They did a fantastic job,” McCord said. “It was a great effort by them.”

During Busse’s report, he said that the ice and snow removal was challenging over the weekend. Busse said that they received four semi-truck loads of salt last week and that they had to use around half of that during the winter storm over the weekend.

“We are still good on road salt at this time,” Busse said. He added that he and his team were working almost around the clock during the winter storm.

“They did a great job,” Busse said about the village employees.

Also during their meeting, the council held the second reading of a resolution authorizing Busse to contract with Poggemeyer Design Group for basketball reconstruction design, bidding, and construction administration services at a cost of $17,850. If approved after three readings, the design for the basketball court renovations is expected to be done in the spring, with the project going out to bid in July and then going under construction in August. A donation of $5,000 from the Optimist Club of Covington is going toward the project.

The council also held the second reading of a resolution authorizing contracting with Invoice Cloud for online billing and payment services. This will allow utility payments to be made directly from tablets and cell phones with or without logging into the account.

The council then held the second reading of an ordinance to vacate 1 foot of a street right-of-way near Hazel Street.

The Covington Police Department and Covington Fire and Rescue will be presenting their 2018 annual reports at the Feb. 4 council meeting at 7 p.m.

The village’s government center will be closed on Feb. 18 for President’s Day. The council’s regular meeting scheduled for that evening was rescheduled for Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. at the government center.

McCord reminded the council and attendees that there will be a public hearing during that meeting on Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. to review the Planning and Zoning Board’s recommendations for amendments to the official zoning map. Busse said that they will be rezoning a number of residences on the north end of Covington from multi-family to single-family residential to reflect their current uses.

By Sam Wildow

Piqua Daily Call

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