The village has qualified for over $4 million in stimulus funding for various public works projects, mostly from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed by Congress earlier this year. Middleport has received more funding for public works through the program than almost any other community in southern Ohio, so far, and work on the projects is expected to begin before the end of the summer.
Meeting Monday night, council approved a bid with Solar Bee of North Dakota, for the purchase and installation of a solar-powered stirring system for the village’s sewer lagoon. Council also awarded a bid to Walker Machinery, Belle, W.Va., for an emergency generator for city hall.
The stirring system will cost $181,402, and the generator $14,1540. They will be funded through a state program emphasizing alternative energy sources.
The generator will provide emergency power to the village offices in the event of an emergency. The decision to include the generator in the stimulus funding application was made shortly after the January snow and ice storm which left the entire village in the dark, and village government unable to operate and communicate adequately with residents in need.
The North Dakota firm was the only bidder on the solar stirring system. Five companies submitted bids for the generator.
Funding has also been awarded for a sewer backflow prevention project, and for the replacement of water lines and development of a new water well field. Those projects will begin in the fall.
In anticipation of the completion of those projects, the village will also seek funding through the Ohio Public Works Commission for street paving. Village Administrator Faymon Roberts said plans for the new water line installation have been developed to avoid as much damage to village streets as possible, and while contracts for construction require restoration of streets, some paving will likely be necessary.
Roberts said he will not know how much will be necessary or available for the paving program, but council authorized Mayor Michael Gerlach to submit a grant application through OPWC for funding for the project.
Gerlach praised Roberts and Fiscal Officer Susan Baker for their perseverance in completing the necessary paperwork and tracking the projects to the bidding stage. Many communities, Roberts said, apparently frustrated with the process, have chosen to abandon proposed stimulus projects.
Because projects are on a “fast track” for completion under the federal stimulus program, some local governments have found it impossible to complete engineering and other preliminary work in the necessary 90-day time frame for project commencement. Middleport lined up engineering firms and completed preliminary design work even before its projects were awarded, to allow as much time as possible for the necessary advance work.
Council set a special meeting for 7 p.m. on Sept. 1 to allow the award of bids for construction on the village’s water and sewer projects.