(Posted Aug. 28, 2021)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
The village of Mount Sterling is making plans to repair major potholes and make improvements on Clark Street.
Last year, village staff patched minor potholes and will continue to do so this year. To take care of the larger and deeper potholes, the village plans to contract with A.J. Asphalt out of Columbus.
At the April 26 council meeting, Andy Drake, council member and street committee chairperson, reported that A.J. Asphalt recently submitted an updated estimate for the repairs. The estimate is $39,000 to repair 32 potholes.
Drake said the village has money left over from last year that was earmarked for major pothole repairs, but it is not enough to cover the $39,000. The street committee is going to prioritize the potholes from worst to best and discuss whether to do what they can with last year’s allocated money, ask council to approve more money to take care of the whole project now, or ask for more money at a later date.
The pothole project focuses on streets the village controls, but potholes are a problem on State Route 56, too. Village leaders are looking into what can be done with the state controlled route.
“We’re going to see what we can do about using highway moneys. That’s a bit more of a significant construction project. As everyone who has gone down 56 can tell you, (the potholes) are pretty big,” Drake said.
“We are playing Whack-a-Mole a little bit with the potholes on 56, but today we want to get in a position where we have a game plan for doing that and make sure they go away and they go away permanently.”
The village also plans to slightly widen Clark Street at Main Street and add a curb to prevent semi-trucks from driving through a residential yard. They are contracting with A.J. Asphalt for this work, too. The village is splitting the cost with BST which has a facility off of Clark Street.
The village wants to have A.J. Asphalt do the pothole project (village controlled streets only) and the Clark Street project at the same time. This would eliminate a second trip to Mount Sterling for the company and, therefore, cut down on costs to the village.
Once village leaders decide how they want to move forward with the pothole work, they can set a timeline for the pothole project and the Clark Street project.
In other street-related news, the street committee is putting together a plan for installing stop signs on High and New streets.
“We’re receiving a lot of complaints about speeding, cut-through traffic,” Drake said. “The stop signs are on order and we will move forward as soon as they come in. It’s really gotten bad, and we need to do something about it as soon as we possibly can.”
The village also plans to install signage to prevent through truck traffic on New Street, Rosewood Avenue, and other streets in town.
Additionally, the village has set aside funding to gravel unpaved alleyways. The street committee has ranked the alleys from worst to best to prioritize the work.
The next street committee meeting is at 8 a.m. May 5 in council chambers and open to the public.
Council voted 4-2 to appropriate funding for a second full-time street/utility worker and to hire Aaron Follrod to fill the position. Council members Andy Drake, Melanie Fritz, Becky Martin and David Timmons voted “yes.” Council members Craig Hix and Jay Pettey voted “no.”
In-person hours at town hall
Council member Becky Martin asked if there are plans to have the town hall staff return to full-time, in-person hours.
For a long time, Misty Vance, the utilities clerk, and Courtney Bricker, the fiscal officer, worked remotely as a result of the pandemic. In recent months, Vance has returned for some in-person hours at town hall, first one day per week and now three days per week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday), working from home the other days. Bricker said she is pretty much back in-person full-time.
Martin said residents have expressed confusion about the hours the utility clerk’s office is open, with it changing from closed, to one day per week, to three days per week.
“With things opening back up more and more…for consistency, it’s just something maybe we should consider soon,” she said.
Mayor Marci Darlington suggested the question be addressed at the next water/wastewater committee meeting, which is set for 9 a.m. May 5 in council chambers at town hall.
Drug Take-Back Day
The Madison County Sheriff’s Office held a Drug Take-Back day on April 24 at town hall. Four deputies and Sheriff John Swaney were on hand to collect unneeded and expired medications for safe disposal.
“I was down there, and it was a good turnout,” said council member David Timmons.
The Sheriff’s Office plans to hold another Drug Take-Back day in August.