Rossford back in intersection discussion
Written by DAVID DUPONT Sentinel Staff Writer
Tuesday, 23 April 2013 10:47
ROSSFORD -Â Months after exiting a plan to build a roundabout at the intersection of Lime City and Buck roads near the Penta Career Center, City Council Monday voted to rejoin efforts to improve the intersection.
And it won't necessarily involve two, or even, a single roundabout.
New traffic counts indicate the number of vehicles flowing through the intersection is not as great as anticipated, leading Rossford officials to hope the project can be scaled back.
The agreement approved on a 6-1 vote at Monday's meeting commits the city to acquire the right of way on three corners of the intersection. Penta is located in Perrysburg Township on the fourth corner. It will provide the land needed there as well as $150,000 in cash. Also participating are Wood County and the township. The project hopes to secure about $3 million in federal money.
City Administrator Ed Ciecka said that the top estimate of the cost to the city would be about $400,000. Going with new signals, not a roundabout, could actually cost the city more depending on the design.
Councilman Chuck Duricek, who had led the opposition to the project earlier, said the new effort was an improvement. Though many residents have thought the project was dead, it has continued to be discussed.
Councilwoman Caroline Eckel, who had supported the original project, said that at the time council complained they hadn't been consulted enough. The vote means they are being consulted. "This is essentially the beginning ... Everyone's moving in the right direction."
Councilman Robert Ruse, who has been spearheading the effort to improve the intersection, said it needs at the very least a traffic light. Knowing that, the city is exposing itself to liability lawsuits if an accident should occur there.
Also, he noted, the pavement is showing signs of wear. Repairing it would cost at least $300,000.
Councilman Jerry Staczek, who cast the one dissenting vote, said he hears nothing but negatives from residents about the project. While they understand the intersection needs improvement, they think officials "are not dividing the pie right" and Rossford is paying too much.
Council President Larry Oberdorf said while he understands the project is unpopular, "sometimes you have to make a decision that's unpopular."
The project, he said, will benefit the city in the long-run.
And council heard during the public comment session how unpopular it was. Resident Deb Zuchowski said she was recently stuck at the intersection and saw all the buses coming from Elmwood and other school districts "not from around here" and wondered why they didn't share the cost.
Also at the meeting, Mayor Neil MacKinnon spoke out strongly in favor of a charter amendment raising the pay of City Council. He balked, however, at a separate plan to raise the pay of the mayor.
He said having only spent 13 months on the job, the raise wasn't warranted and he didn't want that to distract from the move to raise council pay.
The charter amendment on council pay would set it at $8,400 up from $3,000 and for president at $9,000 up from $3,300. Even with the raise, MacKinnon said, council's pay would be at lower than in most neighboring communities.
A separate amendment would set the compensation for mayor at $18,000, up from $7,500. MacKinnon said it'd be better if any increase only took effect after the next mayoral election.
He said when he decided to run for mayor, he didn't realize it was a paid position.
Council gave second reading to two ordinances that would place charter amendments on the November ballot.
The implications of his request were uncertain at the end of the meeting. Council is expected to vote on whether to place the charter amendments on the ballot at its next meeting May 13.