By MINDY MCKENZIE
Daily Globe Staff Reporter
SHELBY- Updates were provided from the Black Fork Clean-Up Project, while administrators of the city discussed the possibility of using Tawa Tree Service during Monday night’s regular city council meeting.
Clean-Up Organizer John Schroeder addressed council members to report on the recent updates surrounding the project.
“To date we have brought in $205,035 and we have paid out $82,958. Our fundraising is still ongoing and we are looking to in the next couple weeks to have the names of all the participants that have contributed to the project,” Schroeder stated.
Other individuals also voiced their concerns about the future of the project regarding Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District.
In old business, Councilman Steve McLaughlin asked Director of Utilities John Ensman if there was an update on the estimate from Tawa Tree Service to clean parts of the Black Fork on city property.
“We met with Tawa this morning and we have an informal quote. I don’t want to disclose that amount right now as we are working toward a number. Everything is at a stand still right now because of the river being frozen. Work is still being done on the northside of Reservoir Number Three, so we are waiting for them to tend to that part of the river and then down London West Road. From there, we will make a decision whether they will continue onto State Street and finish up there or if they need to go back east before we finish our discussion,” Ensman stated.
Councilman Garland Gates asked how the project would be funded.
Project Coordinator of the city Joe Gies explained funding of the project was also part of the discussion had during the meeting with Tawa.
“We just received the numbers so we are going to have to discuss with the mayor and council members on where that money could come from and where it is legally allowed to be spent because some of this would be on private property. So, now that we have a budgetary number we can go through those processes,” Gies said.
“Those would have to come from operating funds. It is not a capital improvement. When you spend money in capital improvements, you have something to show for it. Where it be a street pavement or a new fire truck or some utility line. There is something physical of a life expectancy of a minimum of five years. The other issue is how can public money be expended on private property,” Gates replied.
Schag explained those discussions were had in the meeting with Tawa.
Councilman Charlie Roub provided some questions in regards to funding.
“Is the city not responsible for mowing grass on city property? Where does that money come from?,” Roub asked.
“Our operating funds,” Schag replied.
“Does the city not plow the municipal garden? Where does that money come from? I mean, you see my point,” Roub asked.
“Let me make this clear, if the city wishes to retain Tawa to take care of trees and log jams on city owned property, I have no problem with that. My concern is, what did the quote from Tawa entail? What is the scope of work there?,” Gates asked.
Schag replied and explained the type of work which would be done would include removal of obstructions, leaners, and care throughout the river.
“On city owned property only?,” Gates asked.
“We didn’t get down to brass tax on that because as the conversation evolved, we realized that there may be city on one side and private on the other side. That is where we all took pause,” Schag replied.
“That is my concern is not expending these monies on city owned property. Clearly the city will take responsibility for its property as we mow and plow city property. That is fine, there is no problem there. I don’t object to Tawa doing that work on city owned property and I don’t object to them doing it on private owned property. My concern is who is paying. I just want it clear public monies cannot be expended on private lands except on very minor situations,” Gates stated.
Schag explained discussions would continue around Tawa in upcoming meetings.