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Council meets for Sunday session

IRONTON — Under the gun to authorize funding for a trio of infrastructure and revitalization projects, Ironton City Council met in a rare Sunday session to adopt a handful of ordinances they were unable to do at their regular meeting on Oct. 8.

The weekend session — held in the Ironton City Center’s “fishbowl” instead of Council Chambers — had the city’s legislative body approving ordinances funding the decking instillation of the Ro-Na theater, paying for the completion and inspection of 49 already installed extendable backwater valves and authorizing the installation of an additional 116 residential backwater valves.

All three ordinances, along with two others, had been on council’s docket this past Thursday night. Submitted as emergency measures, several pieces were unable to be acted on as only five members of council attended the Thursday meeting.

The city’s charter requires six of the seven members of council to be present in order to make a motion to suspend the three required readings of an ordinance.

Sunday’s session contained the required number of council members needed to suspend additional readings.

Now adopted, the city can begin the process of awarding bids for both the Ro-Na and backwater valve instillation projects.

With the Ro-Na, Mayor Rich Blankenship now has the authority to award an $88,500 bid to Ironton-based Mi-De-Con, Inc. to install new decking material in rebuilding the historic theatre’s roof.

Later this year, council will receive an ordinance authorizing $98,600 to be awarded to Proctorville-based Fairfax, Inc. for the installation of the roofing materials.

Installation of the decking is expected to commence this fall.

As things currently stand, the city will be on the hook for around $129,000 of the $187,100 price tag for the decking and roofing of the Ro-Na.

The remaining $58,000 will be offset by contributions and solid pledges the theatre’s Steering Committee has already raised for the project.

The city’s share will be allocated through its Debt Retirement Sinking Fund.

Portions of the fund’s set-aside monies were used earlier this year to assist the Memorial Hall restoration project.

The city’s share on the Ro-Na project could decrease following a series of fundraisers the steering committee is currently planning for the upcoming year including an invitation-only fundraiser Nov. 13 at Ohio University Southern.

Also on Sunday, council authorized Blankenship to award a $288,000 bid to Southern Ohio Trenching, Inc. for the installation and equipment on the remaining 116 extendable backwater valves needing to be installed throughout the city.

To date, Mi-De-Con, Inc. had installed and Ironton-based E.L. Robinson had inspected 49 backwater valves that had been placed throughout the summer to residents on the city’s south side who were victims of sewage back-up and basement flooding following a series of heavy rains in June and July.

Mi-De-Con and E.L. Robinson installed the first wave of extendable backwater valves under an emergency measure, while the city placed the majority of the project out for bid.

City law requires any project totaling more than $25,000 to officially be placed out for bid unless it is deemed a “city emergency.” Up until this year, the minimum bid amount had been $5,000 until council raised it to its current $25,000 number at the start of 2009.

Because the extendable backwater valve installation was an unbudgeted project for fiscal year 2009, the city was required to cash in a $250,000 certificate of deposit investment to pay for Mi-De-Con and E.L. Robinson’s share of the installation and inspection.

As for the Southern Ohio Trenching side of the project, the city is currently exploring a variety of options to pay for that bid, including applying for a possible Line of Credit from a local financial institution.