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Salem mayor has utilities commission appointee in mind

SALEM — Mayor John Berlin said he’ll be asking city council to confirm Kyle Cranmer as the new member of the city Utilities Commission.

Cranmer attended Thursday’s commission meeting, which was the last one for city Service/Safety Director Ken Kenst, whose retirement from the city was announced last week, effective Nov. 6. Cranmer will join the commission after council confirms the appointment, likely at next week’s meeting.

Kenst has been serving his third stint as a temporary member of the Utilities Commission, filling the seat vacated when former member Tim Weingart resigned and moved out of state. His service with the commission was only until the mayor could choose a replacement. During the meeting, he was given a framed certificate thanking him for his service.

The mayor also announced last week that Joe Cappuzzello would be the new city Service/Safety Director, spending the next few weeks learning the ropes from Kenst. Kenst and his wife, Cindy, are moving to the Columbus area and plan to spend more time with family, especially their grandchildren.

In handling business, the commission heard the latest update from Howells & Baird engineer Jon Vollnogle on the Snyder Road sewer line project, learning of the latest complication due to Norfolk-Southern turning over flagging and other duties related to projects near the tracks to a third party, which is causing a delay.

The sewer line contractor, Marucci & Gaffney, is ready to bore under the railroad tracks from the south side to the north side, along Snyder Road, but the third party company said flagging won’t be available until Oct. 26.

Vollnogle said it’s frustrating and quite an ordeal trying to get this company’s permission to proceed when the permit for the bore had already been secured. There’s one other spot where the line has to go back under the tracks from north to south, so he’s working on getting the flagging for that, too.

When asked, he said the contractor may have to be given additional time to get the project done. He noted that nobody knew about the Norfolk-Southern situation until now. When the last bore was done in December under the tracks at Newgarden for the project, the railroad company was handling everything. Sometime between then and now, that changed.

The project has been making progress after doing some rerouting of the line on the Ohio Edison property due to finding conduits underground that they didn’t know were there, even after checking with the power company which assured there were no more problems.

The commission approved a change order for $124,350 worth of additional gravel needed for the project after having to use more than expected along some spots.

Commission Chairman Bob Hodgson asked Vollnogle to thank Marucci & Gaffney for the quality of work they’ve been doing since taking over the project early this year.

The commission also heard updates on the nearly-complete Phase 2 upgrade at the wastewater treatment plant on Pennsylvania Avenue, Phase 3 plans, and clearing of the industrial sand site on Pennsylvania Avenue. Damon Greer of Alfred Benesch Engineering explained the need for a beneficial use site application to satisfy the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency wanting to know how the site will be used. Plans call for covering the site with treated sludge from the wastewater treatment plant.

The commission also agreed to pay Benesch $15,000 to prepare a source water assessment protection plan. Brent Hall of Benesch said the plan will include communicating with the public on ways to protect the water sources, noting that communities with plans get priority for funding.

Commission members also agreed to contract Burgess & Niple engineers to do a walkthrough with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to see what, if anything, needs done to shore up the stone barrier known as rip-rap at the East Cold Run Reservoir. Water treatment plant manager Larry Sebrell also asked that a representative of the company which completed the study on the dam be included.

The commission meeting included two separate executive sessions, one for pending litigation with commission members talking with their attorney by phone, and one regarding the possible purchase of property. No action was taken related to either executive session.

The next meeting of the commission will be held at 4 p.m. Nov. 12.

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