A Message from Mayor Greg Kimball
We want to thank you for visiting the first official Mechanicsburg Website. A lot of time, work and thought has gone into the creation of this website. We have endeavored to create a website that is user friendly, that will improve communication between the village government and residents, provide you with updates on village happenings and explain the processes, procedures and restrictions by which we must function, so you have a better understanding of who, what, why, and how we operate. There are many issues… Fire, EMS, Law Enforcement, Finance, Water and sewer, Storm water, Safety, and Street. All of these are important and very fluid issues. I will periodically provide in this section discussions on these many issues.
Currently the major concern is the streets. This is not an issue unique to Mechanicsburg. A recent Urbana Citizen article stated that it could take 24 years for Urbana to address all of their street issues, and they are considering increasing their permissive tax the help subsidize their street fund. We could do the same, but we do not want to increase the financial burden on residents unless absolutely necessary. It is impractical and unrealistic to even think that in Mechanicsburg with 1644 residents and approximately 600 taxed properties, that enough money can be raised to address all of the issues So we must prioritize. We know we have street issues and that you want shiny, black, smooth avenues of transportation.
We sincerely thank you for approving the 5 mil Street Levy last fall. This levy will bring us about $90,000 per year. So far this year we have received only about $45,000 in revenue. The new additional State gas tax is estimated to bring us $37,000 per year in additional street revenue. We are very grateful for this however we ask that you consider the actual cost of repair and rebuilding. We can, and will cover some streets with a blacktop coating this year. But you must realize this is only a temporary fix.
We can continue to “Paint the Pig” but our primary issue is ground water and drainage, and these must be addressed first. If you build a house with an unstable foundation you are eventually going to have issues. The same applies to the streets. Our storm water drainage is not, and never has been, adequate. nor efficient. This last years’ rainfall has only exposed it even more. Unfortunately, storm water systems are payed for with street funds. We recently spent $30,000 to replace over 600 feet of 24” storm tile on East Sandusky, that had collapsed with a 10 ‘deep sink hole that threatened a resident’s foundation. In addition, we discovered a potential storm water culvert issue under Sandusky Street. And according to the State there might possibly be some “Historical” issues to deal with on this culvert. We are having this evaluated, as well as other storm drain failures system failures within the village. You know the water issues, with water in basements, sump pumps, springs and aging systems.
The primary funding avenue for streets, water, sewer and Storm water systems is the Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC), and they work through a combination of Grants, Loans, and Matching (local) Funds. It is a complicated and competitive process. Each year in District 7, which we are in, there are about 50-60 applications for funding, with only about 25-30 getting approved. In addition, our county has an unwritten policy of sharing the “wealth” when it comes to OPWC funding by designating that certain years are reserved for villages, certain years for townships, certain years for cities and certain years for the county. Getting outside funding is a tough and competitive process at best and there is no guarantee.
We have obtained engineering cost estimates for different repair scenarios for several streets in town. As an example, the estimate for Race Street, from Church to Walnut (one block), with street reconstruction, storm tile, water lines, sewer lines, sidewalks, and curb and gutters is $700,000. We are trying to pare this down and do work in stages as money allows, with some temporary repairs, using OPWC funding to leverage your tax dollars. We are working to develop a plan, but it is slow and expensive. So Please bear with us. We want the same thing you do.
Greg Kimball, Mayor
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