Solid waste district calls for budget cuts

By Mike Sever Record-Courier staff writer Published:

The county recycling center would not be affected by the proposed cuts.

County solid waste commissioners Thursday reviewed a 1998 budget proposal for the Portage County Solid Waste Management District.

The district is hoping to cut expenditures after the district's income certification for next year was reduced by $475,000 by the Portage County Budget Commission. The reduction was based on lower income from sales of recyclables in 1996.

Charles Ramer, director of the district, said the proposed budget would mean cuts in district activities except for the recycling center, located in Brimfield. The cuts could affect educational programming and other activities.

Ramer told commissioners he expects the budget commission to increase the income certification after the first quarter next year, allowing a budget increase.

The decreased certification would also mean a cut in the environmental monitoring contract with the Portage County Health District, which monitors closed landfills in the county.

Ramer is to present a final version of the proposed budget next week.

In other action, county commissioners and water resources department personnel met with a local contractor Thursday to discuss a dispute over bids on a Brimfield sewer project.

Commissioners had previously delayed awarding a contract to slip line some 2,200 feet of sewer line along Howe Road after the second bidder, Utilicon Corporation of Cleveland, complained that the low bidder, Bochert Excavating, Inc. of Kent, did not have the experience required by the bid specifications.

Mark Bochert told commissioners that his firm has the required three-years experience with slip lining, which involves placing a new, smaller diameter pipe inside a deteriorating larger sewer pipe. The process extends the life of the line at a lower cost than complete replacement.

Bochert Excavating bid $277,878 on the project compared to $292,135 for Utilicon Corp. The work involves slip lining an 18-inch diameter PVC pipe inside an existing 21-inch diameter concrete pipe. Both bids were under the $298,000 engineer's estimate of project cost.

"My brother and I felt very comfortable going into the bid," Bochert said. "We have the required equipment, manpower and expertise."

The dispute was that Bochert may not have had three years' experience with the particular system to be used in the project. Bid specifications only called for slip lining experience.

"Our specs say nothing about the process" being used, Commissioner Chuck Keiper noted.

Bochert noted his company has done such work for more than a dozen years. He agreed to provide further references on his company's work.

Harold Huff, director of the water resources department, said the project is necessary because the existing line is deteriorating. Damaged pipe was found during annual television inspections of sewer lines.

"On some of the pipes the sewer gases have eroded the concrete on the inside top of the pipe so that the steel reinforcement is exposed," Huff said.

Commissioners also approved, by a 2-1 vote, a $98,021 change order for a sewer project on Patricia Avenue and Menough Avenue in Ravenna Township.

Huff said the amount was to pay for boring holes under the roads to lay sewer lines, rather than cutting ditches across the roads.

Commissioner Chris Smeiles voted against the change order. Total project cost is $460,043.

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