By Wade Coggeshall
AVON — Erosion along County Road 625 East at White Lick Creek is getting bad enough that officials here are looking for financial support from higher up.
Specifically, the Army Corp of Engineers.
On Thursday, the town council unanimously approved submitting a letter of intent for the Army Corp’s Emergency Streambank Protection program.
Projects through the program are undertaken on a cost-shared basis. Original assessments are 100 percent federally funded up to $100,000. Anything beyond that is a 50/50 cost share between the feds and the municipality. Design and construction costs are split 65/35 up to $1 million.
A safety analysis conducted by The Schneider Corporation in 2009 determined a guardrail is needed along the road, among other improvements. Projected costs were $545,000.
“This way, even if we only pay 35 percent, that’s a much better deal for us than 100 percent,” Public Works Director Ryan Cannon said of joining the streambank program.
The problem is that the program only has between $9 million and $15 million in funding nationally.
“It’s very difficult to actually get any funds,” Cannon said. “But if you’re not in the process, you’re not eligible.”
He’s working to get the West Central Conservancy District and the Washington Township Board to commit to the program too. Any public facility is eligible for protection, meaning the WCCD could use it to protect the outlet for its treatment plant and Washington Township could use the funding for its park and Whipple truss bridge. So far only the WCCD has signaled its willingness to sign the letter of intent.
“The more people who participate, the better chance we have of getting funding,” Cannon said.
In other business the council approved paying Commonwealth Engineers up to $6,100 to inspect the town’s dam. State law and permitting through the Department of Natural Resources require the dam to be inspected every two years. Cannon noted that Commonwealth Engineers designed the dam and have performed the last two inspections.
“They’re the most familiar with it, so the amount of time they have to spend is a lot less than someone else who has to review how it was designed,” he said.
Councilman Dave Cox voted in favor of the contract but expressed reservations about the same company that designed it also being the only one to inspect it.
“Maybe not this year, but it would behoove us to have someone else take a look at it,” he said.
In other business, the council:
- Approved the police department buying four new police vehicles: two fully-marked 2013 Dodge Chargers and two detective vehicles, one a ’13 Dodge Durango and the other a ’13 Chrysler 200.
- Approved using K.K. Gerhart-Fritz as a contract planner for the town for $75 an hour. She previously worked with Avon on its comprehensive plan and U.S. 36 Overlay District.
- Approved the annual tax abatements for Harlan Bakeries and the Leo Brown Group.