'The right thing to do’: Monroe making plans to help disabled navigate the city

Monroe approved seeking Community Development Block Grant funding for an Americans with Disabilities Act Program project to replace curb ramps around the city.

City Manager Bill Brock said the proposed project has been presented to the Public Works Committee so the city can meet its requirements under an ADA transition plan to make improvements throughout Monroe to its curb ramps.

Brock said this year the city completed a demonstration project that replaced three curb ramps. The city is seeking a $100,000 CDBG grant to expand the program and replace curb ramps throughout the downtown area.

“Grant or no grant, this is the right thing to do,” said Vice Mayor Keith Funk.

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Water rate study

Council approved a $39,500 contract with Baker Tilly Municipal Advisors LLC to conduct a water rate study.

In his report to council, Brock said the city sent out requests for proposals for a water utility rate study in April 2020. Six proposals were received and city officials recommended Baker Tilly who would work with directly with the city’s water system engineer Fishbeck Inc.

Brock said Baker Tilly and Fishbeck would work together to provide a full audit of the city’s water utility which would include:

  • An evaluation of necessary updates to build a five-year capital plan;
  • An analysis to provide a recommended fund balance policy, review and analysis of all user fees;
  • An evaluation of the city’s needs regarding water meters, and a recommendation for appropriate and fair water user rates and fees as compared to surrounding communities.
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Finance Director Karen Ervin said the study should take approximately two months for the Columbus-based company to complete and back to the city in late January.

She said the last time the city conducted a water rate study was in 2014.

Councilman Todd Hickman said he wasn’t too keen on the nearly $40,000 price tag for the study.

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Council voted 4-3 to approve the study with Council members Tom Callahan, Christina McElfresh and Hickman voting no.

Monroe Bicentennial Commons project

Council unanimously approved an emergency resolution to $19,751 to Butler County Water and Sewer for permit fees for the Monroe Bicentennial Commons Park project at the former Americana amusement park site on Ohio 4.

Brock said in his report that due to engineering design changes, permit fees changed. He said in order to keep the project moving forward, permit fees had to be paid prior to the purchase order being opened so as to not halt construction progress.

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