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April 11, 2024

  • Poetics of April
    As we enter into the poetics of April, also known as national poetry month, here are four voices from well to lesser known. The Tradition – Jericho Brown Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Brown visited the last American Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP 2024) conference, and I loved his speech and humor. Besides […]
  • Barbara Marie Minney in Perrysburg
    Indie bookstore, Gathering Volumes, just hosted poet and (transgender) activist, Barbara Marie Minney in Perrysburg To celebrate Trans Day of Visibility, Minney read from her poetry book – A Woman in Progress (2024). Her reading depicted emotional and physical transformations especially in the scene of womanhood and queer experiences. Her language is empowering and personally […]
Spring Housing Guide

Public Works Division spends 93% of overtime budget for year

The Public Works division has nearly reached the limit of its overtime budget for the whole year in less than two months.

With more than 2,900 hours of overtime clocked since January, the division has doled out $45,478 of its $48,742 set aside for overtime, leaving it with a little more than $3,000 to last the rest of the year, said Finance Director Brian Bushong.

“Obviously we’ll be watching this, but we still have a lot of winter to go,” Bushong said.

The city will still have to get through summer and the following December.

“A weekend hasn’t gone by where we’re not working nights,” said Brian Craft, director of the Public Works Division. “We’ve experienced one whole season in a month.”

Since January, nearly 50 inches of snow fell in the area, roughly 20 inches more than last year, according to observed weather reports from the National Weather Service.

“We may have to go back to city council and ask for an appropriation to increase the budget,” Bushong said, if overtime keeps amassing. The division has yet to do that as it still has money left, Bushong said.

The city could help the division by giving it money from the city’s reserve funds or make the division trim other parts of its budget to increase overtime funds, he said.

Bushong can’t remember another time when the division got close to exceeding its overtime budget.

This time last year, the division had spent roughly $33,000 of its overtime budget with the same limit of roughly $48,000, he said.

As the season continues, Craft said he doesn’t think there will be less work.

“The forecast for February is just as bad as January,” he said.

Overtime isn’t the only worry of the division.

As the snow falls, so does salt from the division’s plows clearing the streets.

Since the beginning of the season, the division has used 1,600 tons of salt for the streets.

It started the season with 1,400 tons and had to request an additional 800 tons, Craft said.

But the salt creates another problem besides shortages — potholes.

“Every time the salt hits the ground, it warms the surface, creating a freeze-thaw cycle,” Craft said.

As the salt thaws the asphalt while the weather continues to freeze it, it breaks down, creating potholes.

“Potholes are popping up literally,” Craft said.

Another department experiencing more trouble than usual this winter is the Utilities Department, which has made 20 service calls for frozen pipes.

“The guys are saying we haven’t had a winter like this since 1984,” said Mike Johnson, division superintendent of Water Distribution and Wastewater Collection.

Each time the department gets a call about a frozen service line to a house, it has to either replace the whole line or call a contractor with a steam machine to thaw it, said Brian O’Connell, city utilities director.

The utilities department has paid $28,136 in overtime, an increase from $22,873 last year, but has a limit of $240,000 because it is a much bigger department, Bushong said.

“The guys are getting burned out and averaging 15 hours [extra] a week,” Johnson said. “We’re just hoping for warmer weather.”

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