Retired Salem utilities assistant hired for part time

SALEM–Retired Assistant Utilities Superintendent Matt Hoopes is coming back to work on a part-time basis, possibly on June 1.

The city Utilities Commission agreed to rehire Hoopes at the same rate of pay he was earning when he left, which was $38.91 per hour, to work 25 hours or less per week. Commission Chairman Bob Hodgson said they had been in negotiations and reached an agreement for the retire/rehire deal.

The action was taken after an executive session for personnel during the commission’s regular monthly meeting Thursday afternoon.

Hoopes had retired effective Jan. 31 after 33 years with the utilities department, but clarified then that the plan was to possibly come back in April, after fulfilling requirements of the Public Employees Retirement System for coming back to work once he started receiving his retirement funds. Hoopes wasn’t present for the meeting, but had been to a couple of other meetings as a citizen visitor.

In other business, the commission agreed to join a city 24-hour surveillance system that was already being installed for the parks department through the Salem Computer Center. The commission had already been looking at adding more security after a truck was stolen earlier this year from inside a locked building and gated property, but had been looking at a different system.

Hodgson said he met recently with personnel from Salem Computer Center and learned the department could have 24-hour surveillance monitored at the police department for less than their original estimate for the other system. According to Hodgson, the cost will be less than the previous quote of $7,700 and will cover both the South Ellsworth Avenue and West Second Street locations. The water and wastewater treatment plants have their own camera surveillance systems.

The commission also heard updates on various projects, including the Snyder Road sanitary sewer line extension. Engineer Jon Vollnogle from Howells & Baird of Salem reported receiving permanent easements from Norfolk Southern for three crossing spots for a total cost of $61,200 for the city. Hodgson said they previously used to have to pay yearly easement fees of more than $6,000 per year. He also reported receiving a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for crossing a stream for the project. He’s still waiting on an appraisal regarding the easement needed from Ohio Edison. The name of the owner of a small parcel along the route was finally tracked down and found to be deceased. Contact is being made with family members.

As part of the project, the commission agreed to extend a line to Marion Street through a change order at an additional cost of $372,920 for construction. Hodgson said the bid for the Snyder Road project came in below estimates and the difference will cover at least half of the additional cost.

The commission agreed to a preliminary engineering contract with Burgess & Niple for $59,300 to develop a scope of work for the wastewater treatment plant Phase 3 project, which has been estimated to cost more than $8 million.

The commission heard some good news regarding the number 4 well at Cold Run Creek, noting that the permit to install was finally granted by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. An electrician is working on the well, which should be ready soon. Plans for the Franklin Street water and sewer replacement line projects have been submitted to the state for the permit to install, with plans to start the bid process soon to get the project completed by fall so the city’s paving of the street can commence after that.

The commission also approved the purchase of a new John Deere tractor/mower for the water plant for $27,850. The commission asked for numbers to see what they could get for a trade-in for the 1992 model being replaced and whether it would be better to buy another mower for the distribution department or fix the 1992 model.

The next meeting will be moved to 1 p.m. May 23 in the second floor conference room of the utilities building.

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