By Sam Wildow
TROY — The Troy Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual State of the City event on Thursday, during which Mayor Robin Oda and Director of Public Service and Safety Patrick Titterington discussed both the successes and challenges for the city of Troy.
National and global issues are hitting home for the city of Troy as it braces for increased costs on capital projects. Titterington said the city plans to open bids for the first phase of its upcoming West Main Street improvement project on April 6, but the cost estimates for that project have continued to rise. It was first estimated at $6.2 million, then $7.7 million, and now $9.2 million.
Titterington said the increased costs are due to “limited supply of contractors, limited labor, supply chain issues,” and more. Earlier during the event, he said the city has been “getting crushed by inflation.”
Major construction with the West Main Street project was expected to start later this year after the Troy Strawberry Festival, but it may get pushed back to 2023. Titterington added the city had hoped to keep at least one lane of traffic open at all times during the project, but they are also seeing if contractors could potentially save time and/or money if they had the option of shutting down portions of the roadway.
“We hoped and we still hope that we’re able to maintain one lane of traffic in each direction, but given that we’re being told that the project’s going to be delayed that much, that it’s going to strung out that long, and it’s going to be costing us that much, we have asked potential bidders, as an alternate, to tell us how much time and money they could possibly save and how they would do it if they were allowed to shut down portions of the road,” Titterington said.
Another example of how the city has been impacted by inflation and rising costs is with its rehab project of the Madison Street lift station, which was first estimated at costing $560,000 with $500,000 of those funds coming from Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. There were no bids received the first time the project went out to bid, and then the second time the project went to receive bids, there was only one bidder who bid a cost of $970,000 for the project.
The city also budgeted $1 million for its annual paving program with the hopes of paving 13 lane miles this year, but Titterington said that number of lane miles may cost upwards of $1.3-1.4 million.
“We open those bids next week,” Titterington said about the annual paving program.
The city’s three-phase South Stanfield Project also went up in costs, increasing from an estimated $1.3 million to almost $2 million in construction costs for phase one. The Troy City Council recent authorized that project to go to bid, too.
The city is also looking to expand its Wastewater Treatment Plant this year due to the plant being at capacity. The cost was originally estimated at $11 million, but is now upwards of $15 million.
2021 saw economic growth, financial stability
While looking ahead shows concern, the city officials discussed the growth and stability the city of Troy saw in 2021, even in during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Financially, Titterington said the city of Troy collected 8.6% more in income taxes than anticipated last year and ended up with an additional $3.7 million more in funding included in its $74 million worth of funds.
In 2021, industrial businesses invested $49 million in capital expenditures and 290 new jobs, commercial business invested $13 million in capital expenses and over 100 new jobs, and the local housing market continued to grow with subdividers preparing 810 lots with 92 new housing starts.
Titterington pointed out, though, with the growing housing market, those new homes cost typically around $300,000, which is “not the kind of housing our front line workforce can afford.” In order keep an available labor force in the area, he said the city may look into tax credit housing to fill the gap in affordable housing.
Titterington went on to say that 2021 was the 32nd year for the city to offer its revolving loan fund, having offered over $10 million in financing to approximately 100 businesses during those 32 years.
The city is also utilizing American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to offer loan programs to owner-occupied residential homes, as well as toward facade improvements in the downtown.
Calls for service, crashes on the rise
In regard to police and fire services, the city of Troy saw 14.5% more traffic crashes in 2021 than 2020. Two of those crashes resulted in fatalities, Titterington said, adding the city may take aim at more traffic enforcement.
Drug overdoses are still a concern, but Titterington said those were at the lowest point in 2021 since 2016, which is also when the city began to tracking them on a regular basis.
The city also saw 11.6% more EMS calls and 12% more fire calls, Titterington said. Titterington said the Troy Fire Department is currently at 100% full-time staffing, but the Troy Police Department has some available openings.
Amenities available, ahead for 2022
The city of Troy maintains 27 parks on a total of 321 acres of land, and Oda went over how the city is currently preparing an additional park, the Robinson Reserve.
The Robinson Reserve will sit on 40 acres with 1.3 miles of walking paths. City staff are currently working on planting 1,100 trees at the reserve.
“I think our quality of life here in Troy is pretty amazing,” Oda said.
One of the other popular attractions in Troy — Float Troy — nearly sold out spots in 2021, and over a third of the spots for this season are already booked.
The city will also see the return of Painted Pianos this summer, along with an additional three pianos for a total of six. One of the pianos will also be painted by a Marvel Comics artist, Titterington said.
For more information on city projects, visit troyohio.gov.