The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Opinion

April 28, 2012

April 28, 2012 Letters to the Editor: Daniel Claypool

Engineer doing job right

A frequent question I am asked while talking with people is: “How much money did the county save by having such a mild winter?”  The question is a good one, so I thought I would ask the Ashtabula County Engineer, Tim Martin. Our County Engineer and his staff usually go unnoticed but do an amazing job for the people of our county.

Tim Martin has stated he is committed to the mission of providing the residents of Ashtabula County with a safe and efficient county highway system.  This philosophy is practiced not only by himself, but by his entire staff.

The majority of the Engineer’s department is funded through gasoline tax and motor vehicle registration fees. An interesting fact is the money can only be used by the county engineer and has to be spent on maintaining county roads. The county has over 355 miles of roads to maintain and keep safe.

The following is a partial list of projects the Engineer and his staff finished in 2011:

 — Completed 27 bridge projects   

—  Painted 355.06 miles of centerlines, 24 miles of township centerlines and 91 miles of edge lines

— Closed and re-opened roads

— Replaced or repaired 900 road signs

— Checked county road signs 5 times, township road signs 3 times

— Hot Mix Resurfaced 14.19 miles of roads

—  Cold Mix Resurfaced 13.61 miles of road

—  Chip and Sealed 23.55 miles of roads

Back to the original question of how much the county saved by the mild winter. Winter maintenance costs include labor, equipment and material for the control of snow and ice on County Highways. Over 9,721 labor hours were used for the previous winter season, 2010-11, with over 8,200 tons of salt and sand/salt mix used to treat county roads.  Below is a comparison of the current and last season:

Expenditures for the 2010-2011 snow and ice season = $ 546,105

Expenditures for the 2011-2012 snow and ice season = $ 309,140

Savings = $ 236,965

 In addition to this savings, approximately 40% of the salt needed for next year’s snow and ice season, 2012-2013, has been purchased and stockpiled. This reduces the amount of salt to purchase for next season and will result in additional savings.

 The funds saved will be appropriated toward the increase in fuel costs (estimated to be 25 to 30% higher than last year) and additional stone and asphalt emulsion for county road paving, as well as additional funds for contract road paving.

 I would like to remind everyone using our highway system that there are a large number of road projects going on in our county. These projects employ a number of county residents. Please slow down, be patient and watch for highway workers. I am very proud of all the workers in our county that perform their job duties in all types of dangerous weather conditions in order to make our roads safe. It is a hard, dangerous job and these folks have families they want to go home to. So please be careful while driving in road construction zones.

 Have a safe and pleasant summer.

Daniel Claypool

Ashtabula County Commissioner

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