By Mayor Vincent Leone
It is once again time to reflect on the past year and showcase the accomplishments of our great City.
2013, for the City of Port Clinton, has proven to be exciting and very productive. As in the past, I would like to give a breakdown of just a few of the more prominent topics of each department.
Port Clinton Police Department
Our Police Department Led by Chief Rob Hickman is constantly evolving so much so that when I ask the chief for a simple one page description of the department’s accomplishments; Chief Hickman instead gave me 11 pages. I will try now to reflect on those accomplishments with the same kind of enthusiasm. First, we would like to welcome to the department Ryan R. Yost as Patrolman, Civilian Dispatcher Shannon M. Belcher, and Lindsay M. Everly who assists with dispatch and records. We are very proud to announce that Detective Corbin Carpenter has been recognized as a Master Criminal Investigator through the Ohio Police Officer Training Commission.
Also Detective Corbin Carpenter but Sergeant David Scott, Sergeant Josh Nelson and our very own Chief Hickman went through Critical Incident Training and are now ALICE Instructors. For those of you who do not know ALICE stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate. With cooperation of the Port Clinton City School District the implementation of the ALICE program within the City Schools offers a safer way to deal with response to an active shooter. For that I would like to offer up my great appreciation to our Port Clinton Police Department for the expertise and there compassion in caring for our youth.
Training to our officers has been first priority to Chief Hickman since he took office and the list of qualifications this year alone is absolutely mind boggling. The amount of training to better serve our citizens a philosophy best stated by saying “it is better to be prepared and not use it than to need it and not have it” are words worthy to live by.
Something I would like to mention before I move on to the next department is that not only is the police department getting updated training but some of that training is provided from our very own police department staff. Sergeant Bruce Szilagyi, Patrolman Daniel Laird, James Cipiti, Ellis Fuiava, Richard Vance and even K-9 Spike’s handler Josh Nelson are certified instructors in some of the numerous certified training that our officers have participated in. By performing these trainings within the Port Clinton Police Department, this helps to create quite the saving’s to the City budget.
Port Clinton Fire Department
Now moving on to the Port Clinton Fire Department led by Chief Kent Johnson. We are proud to announce new hires for the year 2013; they are Lucas Johnson, Carl Kopchak, Colin Hennig, Clayton White, and John Flegal. The fire department spends a lot of time and energy in fire prevention some of that time spent is with preschool age children in Firelands Day Care, Rainbow Acres, WSOS, and one of my personal favorites Safety Town. They also provide training in the Port Clinton school system at Bataan Elementary and Immaculate Conception school’s grades K through fourth. The fire department even provides adult training concerning fire prevention and speaks at different organizations throughout the year such as Lakeview Estates, Port Clinton Senior Center, The Giving Tree, and TDH.
Training, for the fire department, has always been part of their success. There were a total of 30 training sessions for the members of the Port Clinton Fire Department. Training revolves around the latest tactics on fire and rescue including, MBAs, water rescue, search tactics, scene safety among many others. The commitment to training is a testament to the fire fighters of Port Clinton’s safety record with no lost time and incidents reported in 2013 year.
Other news exciting to the Port Clinton Fire Department is the refurbishing of their trucks this past year. They refurbished engine 661 instead of replacing it which has save the taxpayers approximately $350,000 and added a life expectancy to that engine an additional 10 years of service. There’s a lot of excitement going on over at the fire department these days with the expansion of the fire station. The addition of five bays to the existing billing is to enable the fire department to increase response time by better organization of equipment and reduce maintenance costs by keeping all equipment under roof. We’re very excited with the expectations of a completion date around March 1 of this year and the project is currently under budget.
I also was asked by Chief Kent Johnson to express his gratitude to the community for their support of the fire department. Chief Johnson also wants me to let everyone know how proud he is to serve the community and how proud he is of the men and women he works with each and every day.
Wastewater Treatment Plant
The wastewater treatment plant led by Ernie Isaac has completed the electric upgrades to 480 V three-phase power for city Park to Perry Street storm pump stations. Part of this project included all new service panels, directional boring for the main service panel under Perry Street to each pump station and all new panels and conduit to each location. The sewer department also replaced two worn out storm pumps at the Walnut Street pump station and rebuilt three secondary pumps and check valves at the treatment plant. At the wastewater treatment plant they have processed over 1.7 million gallons of treated wastewater sludge for landfall disposal. As some of you may be aware the construction being done on Sixth and Taft Streets included sewer lines. The sewer lines are inspected to ensure that they are installed properly according to city regulations. This work is done with careful review by our chief operating engineer Ernie Isaac to ensure that the regulations are met.
Eric Peterson, supervisor of the street department, has been extremely involved in all operations of reconstruction in all our projects. Whether supervising over 4000 lineal feet of water main replacement on Sixth Street, 900 lineal feet of 12 inch water main replacement on Maple Street, or 300 lineal feet of water main that has been replaced throughout the city. The city service garage provides so many different services we don’t have enough time to list them all here. I do need to mention the 20 water main breaks throughout the town that were repaired under pressure to ensure uninterrupted service to our customers.
The replacement of 300 water meters throughout the town helps to insures proper readings. The replacement of eight catch basins throughout the town, replacement of three fire hydrants and even the 20 catch basin repair that were done throughout the city, which is part of the service they provide each and every day. Some other services provided through our service department are the video taping of our sewer system. Although this may not be glorious work, it does provide the city with important information to evaluate our sewer systems and provides us the opportunity to prioritize the necessity for replacement.
The service department has been challenged immensely this winter with snow removal and I would believe that most would agree when I say they have done an outstanding job. The service department also maintains our cemeteries. The replacement of trash cans at the cemeteries, new map stations and lot markers for the cemetery make it more accessible.
I also would like to mention the improvement of Portage Park. In 2013 with the help of the parks and recreation committee led by chair Ron Aukerman, we were able to purchase a restroom facility to better serve our community and the people that use that park. Portage Park itself is not utilized only by soccer but also youth football and of course sled riding during the winter months. With so much of our community utilizing this park it was a great improvement.
Towards the end of last year we also made improvement by installing a patio at the senior center. I have also applied to Stenson Grant for funding to purchase patio furniture to make the user friendly for our seniors.
It is also important for me to mention the tree commission. They not only concentrate on trees for city streets but the park as well and I am looking forward to the Arbor Day celebration that the tree commission is selected to plant some new trees at the senior center this year. The dedication of the tree commission started with education. When I speak of education I am speaking of the tree commission attending the Tree Commission Academy which was developed by the Division of Forestry through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The attendance of the tree commission to these classes helps them to develop a master plan for the city for the replanting of trees and tree maintenance. Although the master plan is not complete the vision of the tree commission is to have that complete and developed through soil sampling, being aware of power lines and sewer lines, growth patterns, size and species all matter in making those decisions for locations and species. Other parts of the tree commission vision are to also capitalize on possible use of grants and help with the replanting of our City trees.
The office hours at City Hall being extended to 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. has made it more accessible to businesses within the city. I must also say that the employees that are in the office each and every day have been very accommodating to our citizens. The duties that are performed in the office at City Hall are sure to create its own challenges, but I will say that the staff in the office of City Hall has more than met those challenges and have served the community well.
Projects in 2013
Some of the projects in 2013 included Taft Street sanitary sewer and road reconstruction. This project was funded by city sewer fund and Ohio Public Works commission grant of $175,000. Total construction cost was in the amount of $397,890.50; this work was done by Edward Kelly and sons. This project became a priority after the use of our sewer camera had given us documentation showing that the sanitary sewer was collapsed and created a potential health hazard to the residents of that area.
Six street reconstructions were funded by several different grant sources, one of which was a small cities grant from Ohio Department of Transportation for up to $1,421,000. Another fund source of $175,000 was a grant from Ohio Public Works commission. Another fund source was the water loan from Ohio Water Development Authority to $591,561. Another fund source was from the city’s main thoroughfare fund and sewer fund. The contract for reconstruction was granted to underground utilities and the amount of $2,032,911.98. With that we are grateful for the job done by quality control inspections for managing the project and seeing it through to fruition.
Another great project for the city that has moved forward this past year would include safe routes to school which was funded 100% through the Ohio Department of Transportation. The project included new sidewalks, street markings, and proper signage in and around Bataan Elementary Schools and the Port Clinton Middle and High schools. Total cost to construction was $269,885; the work was performed by Midwest Contracting and the construction management was done by Quality Control Inspection. We are looking forward to the final cleanup and seeding to be completed in early spring.
Another project that we moved forward with in 2013 was the nature trail on the preserve. Even though we attempted to obtain a grant through Ohio Department of Natural Resources, we were unsuccessful. We are grateful that the city council had budgeted for the amount so that we could proceed in providing the preserve trail for the enjoyment of our community members.
All these projects took careful planning which was crucial in helping us to secure funds and move the projects forward. Some of the other planning that we are in the process of is the Madison streetscape plan. Total cost of the project for planning was $30,000; $10,000 from Community Development Block Grant and another $20,000 through city funds for the study that is taking place. The scope of the project is on Madison Street starting at Perry Street to the viaduct, this includes infrastructure and streetscape improvements that are long overdue. Planning is a crucial component in moving any city forward. Some of the projects that we will be planning this year would include Lakeshore Drive sidewalks, Second Street reconstruction from Monroe to Jefferson, and also a master plan for not only sewer separation but the water supply throughout the city. This type of planning is crucial to capitalize on different grant cycles and to prioritize our projects in a very productive way.
In closing this year’s address to the City, I believe it’s very important that everyone realize that this is a team effort. There is no one person more important than next whether it comes from your council, administration or the community. It has always taken the efforts of many working together to truly move anything forward. I must say I am very proud to have been chosen to be the Mayor of this great City but, even more privileged to be able to work with so many talented people. I thank you and God bless.