The tape of this meeting is on file in the Council Clerk’s Office
TO THE HONORABLE COUNCIL, CITY OF ELYRIA, OHIO
The Utilities, Safety & Environment Committee held a meeting on
Wednesday, November 29, 2017 at 6:00 P.M. in Council Chambers.
PRESENT: Committee Chair Mitchell, Members Davis, Tanner, Cerra, Craig
OTHERS PRESENT: SSD Siwierka, Engineer Schneider, Councilman Madison,
Assistant Law Director Breunig, Utilities Superintendent Connor, WWPC Superintendent Korzan
BUSINESS OF THE UTILITY, SAFETY & ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE MEETING
1. Approval of the November 8, 2017 meeting minutes.
Cerra moved Davis seconded to approve the November 8, 2017 meeting minutes.
2. The matter of a authorizing the Mayor to enter into a contract for the replacement of the current compressor with new compressor at North Park.
Mrs. Mitchell reminded the committee that the City does make money from the North Park Ice Rink, so to replace the compressor is a good investment.
Craig moved, Davis seconded to recommend an ordinance to authorize the Mayor to enter into a contract for the replacement of the North Park Compressor. Standard emergency clause applies.
The project will take a year to be completely finished.
Cerra moved, Davis seconded to recommend an ordinance to authorize the Mayor to advertise for bids and award a contract for the WWPC Plant UV Disinfection Project. Standard emergency clause applies.
Mrs. Siwierka explained that there are about 2 dozen sanitation customers outside of the City. Those customers are subject to the 40% up charge, just like the water and sewer rates, so these rates need to be upgraded as well.
Cerra moved, Davis seconded to recommend authorizing an ordinance to the change the rates charged for sanitation service outside the City Corporation limits.
5. The matter of considering Zero-Emissions Nuclear Resource (ZEN) Legislation, designed to preserve our State’s Nuclear Facilities. Ohioans for Clean Energy
He thanked Mr. Craig and Council for inviting him to the meeting. He is there to provide information on ZEN Legislation. He passed out brochures with information. Mr. Faga read to the committee notes and information regarding the legislation. Many nuclear power plants, Davis Bessie Plant which is to the west of us and The Perry Plant which is to the east of us, are facing an uncertain future due to market rules that do not recognized the value that they provide. As of October 2017, 10 plants have been closed this year and 14 are faced with closing if they do not receive assistance. It’s important to have fuel diversity. Nuclear power is designed to run 24/7 and have an 18 -24 months of on-site fuel. New legislation was introduced in the Ohio House of Representatives on October 10, 2017 to help preserve the state’s nuclear plants. That legislation is called House Bill 381 and replaces House Bill 178. The new bill lowers the cost to minimize impact on customers. The cost to customers was reduced from $5.00 to $2.50. The legislation is expected to generate $180 million annually during the 12 year program. Ohio still imports some of it’s electricity from out of state resources. If these plants close that would result in increased rates for customers as new substations and transmission lines will have to be constructed. The facilities supply more than 4,300 instate jobs at the plants and through the businesses that they support.
Mrs. Mitchell asked Mr. Faga what specifically he is asking of the Committee. Mr. Faga said he is asking them to take action by signing up on the ZEN website. Once each person signs up online, it will automatically send letters to the state elected officials. If the legislation passes, it will enable the state to keep those plants up and running and save those 4,300 jobs in Ohio. The cost of electricity for individual residential customers will go up $2.50 per month for a 12 year period to keep the plants open.
Mrs. Siwierka said that she had gone to the NOPEC meeting and passed out additional information from NOPEC. Mr. Craig asked if Mr. Faga is looking for Council to pass a Resolution in support of the House Bill? Mr. Faga said that would be appreciated.
Mr. Craig made a motion to pass a Resolution indicating Elyria’s support of House Bill 381.
Mr. Tanner seconded that motion.
Mrs. Davis said that since she had just received the information she did not want to vote on the matter at this time. Mr. Craig agreed that was fair and asked to withdraw his motion and move to table it to the next meeting. Mr. Tanner concurred.
This matter was Tabled to the next Utilities Meeting.
6. The matter of creating an operations and maintenance plan to maintain safe and user-friendly conditions within the City.
In 2013, Council as a body passed the Complete Street Resolution. How can we build on that work? Complete Street practices were adopted to allow the Engineering Department to continue to be creative. With the construction of Middle Ave., we were able to see some of the concepts of Complete Street practices. Now what needs to be looked at is; what is the operations plan for maintaining the bike pathways? Lorain County Metro Parks and the Lorain County Health District is working with connecting the dots. People who use bikes for their form of transportation have to use them in all kinds of weather. As a city, we are able to get additional funding from NOACA for these projects. There is additional funding that exists to maintain community bike pathways.
Mrs. Mitchell asked what is being asked of the committee. Mr. Madison said that he is asking if the City has an operations plan to maintain the bike lanes? Mr. Schneider shared that the City does not have an operations and maintenance plan to maintain the bikeways. Other things that were noticed from Ya Bikes is to make sure that the bike signs are clear. Some people thought that those bike lanes on Middle Ave were turn around spots for cars.
Mrs. Siwierka asked how the bike lane maintenance is different from the roadway maintenance? Mr. Madison gave that question over to Mr. Schneider. Mr. Schneider started by saying that there is not a dedicated funding source for the maintenance of the bike paths. Street funds possibly can be used. There are areas where the bike lanes are not in the roadway, but closer to the sidewalks and the City doesn’t have the proper equipment for that. There are different options for funding out there. Most of those things the City does but when the path is off the road way, how will the snow be removed from some of those bike paths that are close to residential houses. There are a lot of different bike lanes out there.
Sara Tilly, Lorain County Health District, 17455 Northwood Ave., Lakewood. Ms. Tilly stated that there are ‘on road’ bike infrastructure, where the bike is painted on the surface of the road, which means you can ride there safely. There are concerns in both; on road biking and bike paths. There are street sweeping and street plowing plans, but the bike lanes get left behind. The snow plow will plow the street and the snow will get thrown into the bike lane, obstructing the lane for riders. Also, leaves and debris that are pushed into the bike lanes can cause a hazard for riders. Realizing this is what the health district and bicycling community advocates for. With bicycling being a mode of transportation for many individuals, it also is a recreational sport. The LC Metro Parks does maintain their off-road facilities with scrubbers.
Mr. Craig said that there are several different plans in place already, he’s wondering if the bicycle committee can compile what we have already and see if it will need to be refined.
Mrs. Siwierka said that she has attended the Bicycle Committee Meetings and the City has been maintaining the bike lane signs throughout the city.
Mr. Breunig said that under state law bicyclists in Ohio have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. And bicyclists that take to the road assume the risks of the road.
Mr. Breunig suggested that there is no reason that the snow plow can’t just plow all the way to the berm on Middle Ave., since it is part of the roadway anyway
Mr. Madison thanked Mr. Craig for his recommendations. There are a lot of different plans in place but it might take everyone getting together and getting feedback. He said they can also look into additional resources to help with connection points and there are National grants that can be applied for.
Mr. Madison brought up the issue of bike racks that will be addressed by Mr. Martinez.
Mr. Marty Martinez of 358 Beebe Ave., Elyria introduced himself and spoke to the committee. Mr. Martinez brought up designated bike routes. He said that Middle Ave., 2nd St. and 3rd Street are wonderful to bike on. He stated that when he rides on certain streets he has been cut off. He feels that the bike signs do help because it makes motorists more alert to bicyclists. As roads are fixed and bike lanes added, it helps, but if the road isn’t wide enough, at least having the bike signs and symbols make the motorists aware. If a designated bike route is on a side walk and not maintained it’s a safety hazard for the bicyclists. If a pot hole in a bike lane is called in, our crews will fill it. The upcoming plans for the Elyria Bicycle Committee is still in the discussion stage, but it’s broken down by; education, encouragement, engineering, access, enforcement, evaluation, bike rack installation, bike maps, bike to work day, city bike event, weekly rides, neighborhood classes and city and family bike events. Mr. Martinez thanked the committee.
Mr. Madison asked for this matter to go in pending items and over the next couple weeks/months they can work with the administration and engineering department to start to provide resolutions of support or guidance.
Craig moved, seconded by Cerra to adjourn the meeting at 7:50 P.M. MOTION CARRIED
Colleen Rosado, Secretary