Franklin council holds lengthy executive session to interview city manager finalists

Franklin City Council met for four hours in executive session Monday night to interview the two finalists for the city manager position.

There were 36 candidates who applied for the position that will be vacated on Dec. 31 when the current city manager, Sonny Lewis, retires.

A council committee reviewed the applications and resumes and narrowed the field to eight semifinalists, who were interviewed last week. From that round, the committee came up with two finalists, Franklin Fire Chief Jonathan Westendorf and Nathan Cahall, village administrator of Plain City, who were interviewed by the entire council Monday.

Franklin Mayor Brent Centers said that the new city manager would be announced at council’s Dec. 21 meeting.

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Feasibility study with Montgomery County

Franklin council approved an agreement with Montgomery County for a joint feasibility study to repair or replace a 791-foot retaining wall that is in both jurisdictions along North Dixie Highway in the city and Dayton-Cincinnati Road in Miami Twp. The Great Miami River Recreational Trail runs along the bank of the Great Miami River between the river and wall.

City Engineer Barry Conway said there are safety hazards along the bike trail and that 53% of the wall is inside the city limits.

Conway said the city’s cost for the feasibility study will be $100,000. He said the Montgomery County Engineer’s Office estimates the cost of the project at $1.6 million.

He said the feasibility study should be completed in 2021, with design work to be completed in 2022, and construction should begin in 2023.

Lift station replacement project

Council also approved a contract to replace the Third Street lift station that was constructed in 1937. This will extend the sanitary sewer along South River Street and installing a force main from the lift station to the sanitary sewer.

Ford Development Corp. submitted the lowest and best bid of $648,000 in a field of three bidders. Conway said the city has already budgeted the cost of the project in the Issue Two fund. He said this is an Ohio Public Works Commission project and the city will be reimbursed for 47% of the project up to $300,000.

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