Accidents big cost to city

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In 2003, the city of Reynoldsburg initiated the Reynoldsburg Major Commercial Corridors Streetscape Improvement Project to provide an opportunity to enhance the city’s image and economic development along the five-mile stretch of Main Street, Brice Road and Livingston Avenue.

However, graffiti and car accidents are causing extensive damage and hitting the city’s pocketbook.

At the June 16 Reynoldsburg City Council committee meeting, council discussed a request to authorize a $25,000 account for the Streetscape maintenance.

"In 2005, we paid over $11,000 for the maintenance from the walls that were being hit by cars and from signs that were hit from various drivers," said Pam Boratyn, director of the safety service department. "I think the only way of handling it is that we need a separate account."

The city could accrue the money from the general fund and, when there is a police report filed for an accident, call the driver’s insurance agency. And if the driver does not have insurance, they would still receive an invoice from the city for the damage.

As for an unreported accident, the city would have to fork over some cash to pay for repairs. Boratyn said $6,000 in repairs are needed for a street light that was hit, as well as the wall by Walgreen’s on Brice Road, which seems to be a magnet for vehicular accidents.

Mosquito concerns

It is the time of year when animals and humans alike are being bitten by pesky mosquitoes.

Until 1999, the bite of a mosquito did not cause much concern until the first cases of West Nile Virus were reported (the virus was first discovered in the late 1930’s in Africa).

Since then, the Franklin County Board of Health has sprayed in cities, towns, municipalities and township to reduce the risk of the disease from contaminated mosquitoes. In 2008, the Board of Health started the integrated pest management/mosquito control program.

Reynoldsburg council held a discussion to authorize a contract with Franklin County for that program; however, there is no local or state funding for it.

"They are asking for .19 per capita," said Boratyn. "We would have to pay up to whatever is the population amount times .19."

Boratyn estimated it would cost the city approximately $6,723 to fund, but that figure could decrease depending on if the population is lower.

She added the city has the money, and it would be funded by taking $2,000 from the storm water fund, $1,000 from the parks and recreation department and the rest from the safety service budget.

"We talked to legal and we have the money in the accounts, we just have to have an ordinance passed to go into contract with Franklin County."

The Board of Health’s independent contractor Vector Disease Control started  spraying in May.

TIF talks on hold

At the June 2 Reynoldsburg City Council committee meeting, a lengthy discussion took place to discuss the extension of public infrastructure to meet the needs of a proposed new Reynoldsburg high school via a tax increment financing (TIF) and economic development reimbursement agreement.

A TIF is a tool that allows municipalities to promote economic development by earmarking property tax revenue from increases in assessed values (within a designed TIF area or district).

"I think that discussion created more questions than answers," said Finance Committee Chairman Ron Stake.

Stake asked council to hold the discussion for two more weeks so they can "meet with the schools to see where everyone is at before legislation."

Clean up collections

The city held its annual community clean up day on June 7 with hefty results.

"We collected for SWACO (the Solid Waster Authority of Central Ohio) 9.49 tons of trash, 1.2 tons of recyclables and 2.6 tons of compose," said Boratyn.

Development Director Lucas Haire added there were more than 130 volunteers who picked up approximately 110 bags of litter. Haire called it a "very successful event."

However, there was a problem with traffic. There was a ball game in the area and the city had to ask police officers to come out and help direct and remove traffic.

"There was an overwhelming number of people in the area and we’ll have to plan better so next year doesn’t get quite so congested," said Boratyn.  

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