County engineer discusses COVID-19 impact


MIAMI COUNTY — Miami County Engineer Paul Huelskamp recently presented his annual report to the Board of Miami County Commissioners, going over the major projects completed in 2019 and new projects still to come, as well as discussing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on funding sources.

Huelskamp appeared optimistic about moving forward with the improvement projects the county has planned, reporting increased revenue from last year.

“We’re up about $713,000 in revenue over our revenue from last year, and on the expense side, we’re down about $812,000, mostly due to the new gasoline tax that was put in place. We received additional funding that we were not counting on,” Huelskamp said. “We’re in a pretty decent position going into this drought that it looks like we’re going to have as far as the gasoline tax and license plate fees because of COVID-19.”

Huelskamp said there will be additional savings in the budget due to his department not buying some additional equipment they had previously planned to purchase, including two pickup trucks.

Huelskamp also noted the state, though, is already preparing to pull back its grant funding.

“The Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) has said this year they’re not even going to accept applications unless something happens at the state (level),” Huelskamp said. “Even what we have open in contracts, they’re not sure they’re going to be able to pay anything after July 1.”

Huelskamp said the only project the county has that could potentially be impacted by the state not fulfilling its grant funding is the Upper Valley Medical Center (UVMC) Waterline Extension Loop project. The commissioners awarded the construction of that project to Degen Excavation Company, Inc., of Lima, at a cost of $935,950 in March. The entities funding this project include the Miami County Sanitary Engineering Department, the city of Troy, UVMC, OPWC, and Bruns.

“I’m not worried about it,” Huelskamp said when asked if the commissioners should be concerned if OPWC pulls its funding from the project. “We do have reserve funds in our water fund if we have to cover the remainder of the project, but it would basically deplete the water fund down to where we wouldn’t be able to do a whole lot. We’d still be able to pay for water and all that, but future projects would be impacted.” He said one project would be the Brandt Water Tower.

Huelskamp was confident, though, that OPWC would fulfill its promised funding.

“It’s an open project,” Huelskamp said. “We have a contract with OPWC.”

Huelskamp also discussed the improvements to county roads, with additional resurfacing to come in 2020.

“We resurfaced 22 miles of roadway,” Huelskamp said. Some of the roads the county repaved this year were as old as 23 years. The county maintains approximately 423 miles of roadway, putting roads on a 19-year paving cycle at the rate the county is repaving roads. Also in 2019, the county upgraded 6.7 miles of chip seal roads.

For 2020, the county is planning on resurfacing approximately 26 miles.

“We’re going to try to push forward as much as we can,” Huelskamp said.

Huelskamp discussed one of the major projects from last year, the Ross Road resurfacing project that went from State Route 202 to State Route 201. The Ross Road project added approximately 2.543 miles to the resurfacing program. It was funded 72 percent by the Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC), amounting to approximately $243,245, and 28 percent was funding locally, with approximately $94,285 local funds. The project consisted of a two-inch overlay of asphalt concrete and an application of thermoplastic edge line and center line, Huelskamp said.

In addition to the county’s annual resurfacing program, the major road projects to come in 2020 include the County Road 25-A resurfacing project and the resurfacing of Bellefontaine Road.

The County Road 25-A resurfacing project will resurface the road from Piqua’s north corporation limit to the Miami County and Shelby County line. The project will be completed by John R. Jurgensen Company of Springfield at a cost of $341,252. Approximately 40 percent of that cost will be funded locally with federal funding covering 60 percent of the cost.

The resurfacing of Bellefontaine Road will be from the Montgomery County line to the Clark County line. John R. Jurgenson Company will be completing this project at a cost of $146,211 with the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission (MVRPC) funding 80 percent of the project and the remaining 20 percent being funded locally.

Road projects still to come in 2020

By Sam Wildow

Miami Valley Today

Reach the writer at [email protected]. © 2020 Miami Valley Today, all rights reserved.

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