|Rossford seeks govt. efficiency grant|
|Written by DAVID DUPONT Sentinel Staff Writer|
|Thursday, 28 February 2013 10:23|
ROSSFORD - City Council Monday voted to seek a $100,000 grant to study ways in which city government, the school district, the port authority and convention and visitors bureau could better cooperate to save taxpayer dollars.
The grant, explained Rex Huffman, legal counsel for the Wood County Port Authority, from the local government innovation fund could be used to find ways in which local entities can work together by sharing services and space.
The cost of the study would be $100,000 including 10-percent in matching funds.
The school district, Huffman said, has already spent money looking at some of the relevant issues as part of its facilities studies plan. Huffman said he hoped those expenses could be used as part of the local match.
Rossford, he said, has already received one of those grants and is using it to coordinate dispatching serves with several other communities.
Later in the meeting Huffman got pulled into Councilman Jerry Staczek's complaint about the railroad crossing on Ohio 65 near the Pilkington Glass Works.
The downtown rail spur has brought complaints from community members over the year.
Staczek promised he would start bringing up the crossing up at every meeting until it's fixed. The poorly graded spur provides a jarring entry into the city, with some residents reporting their cars have been damaged, he said.
During the public comment section, resident Debra Zuchowski said if people were damaging their cars, it probably was because they were driving too fast while going over the tracks.
Staczek said he would propose a resolution giving Pilkington a limited period of time to remedy the situation, or the city would fix it and then bill the company.
Staczek said that with the election coming he didn't want to have to answer complaints from voters over the issue.
Mayor Neil MacKinnon said he would be opposed to sending such an ultimatum to the city's largest private employer. Discussions to fix the tracks are under way, he said.
Huffman said state economic development grants should be available to help pay the $250,000 regrading the crossing should cost.
The company has funds budgeted for a cheaper fix that wouldn't last as long, but Huffman said it would be better to do a more lasting job.
He said he'd been frustrated with turnover in the state's development office, but the person he's dealing with now is "excited" about the project.
Huffman said the Port Authority has recently secured a couple of these grants for other projects.
This would help keep the plant in the city, he said. The current owners, Nippon Glass, of Japan, understands and appreciates the legacy of glass in Rossford.
Though employment at the plant is down, Huffman said, the plant still produces as much as it ever has, thanks to mechanization.
Fire Chief Jim Verbosky said in his dealings with the company, he has learned that the glassworks is facing "millions in needed upgrades."
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