WARSAW — A grade separation study on railroad crossings in the downtown Warsaw area was approved Friday morning, Dec. 4. The study is to see if going under or over current crossings is economical and feasible.
BOW members approved signing an agreement with American Structurepoint, Fort Wayne, for the Center Street Grade Separation Feasibility Study. The cost of the study would be $63,500. “This is the beginning of a long project,” stated Jeremy Skinner, city planner, who presented the proposal.
Mayor Joe Thallemer stated discussions have been held with Norfolk Southern Railroad and Indiana Department of Transportation regarding the complexity of such a project. The study would include subsurface investigation, costs, benefits, affects and other questions.
“By the end of the day, our goal is to give us the answers we need,” said Skinner. He stated there are a lot of steps to go through before answers and/or decisions can be made. While the feasibility study will provide answers, there is a lot of work to follow.
Thallemer stated the study is “something to look at … where most feasible, estimation of cost, cost benefits … where is the best spot … we were nudged to do it last spring.” He explained the railroad will be doing safety upgrades to five crossings next year and in turn looked at closing some crossings to minimize safety issues. Thallemer stated closing of any crossings could not be done until a solution for replacement could be made.
Street Lights Approved
Street lights on Eisenhower Street will become a reality. A bid for an installation project, similar to lights installed on East Market Street, was awarded to City Light & Signal, Inc., Fort Wayne, at a cost of $41,182. The contract was also signed with the company.
The lights will be LED. Thallemer questions if there was any research on utilizing solar lights. Skinner noted solar lights at this point are where LED lights were 10 years ago. “The technology is not there and from an expense standpoint, the chips that control the lights have a life span of five years. Each chip is worth hundreds of dollars. Every five years you could have a $5,000 chip replacement bill.”
During other business:
- Appointed Jeff Grose to the city plan commission, which will be increased from five members to nine members after the first of the year.
- Approved the 2016 Warsaw Volunteer Fire agreement for payment of $30,702.
- Accepted a $5,000 grant from Kosciusko County Community Foundation and approved applying for a KREMC Operation Round Up Grant in the amount of $2,364 for the police department. The funds will be used towards the purchase of 12 gas mask sets for the SWAT team.
- Approved a contract with Keystone Software Systems, Daleville, for the wastewater department and clerk-treasurer’s office, at $275 each, for the 2016 Disaster Recovery Plan.
- Signed a contract with Christopher Burke Engineering, Indianapolis, for $15,000 for an update of the stormwater design standards per permit requirements.
- Approved the payment of $6,639.35 to American Structurepoint Inc., for engineering services on the Buffalo Street Redevelopment Project.
- Approved the 2016 Cobra rates, administrative fee schedule and 2016 take home vehicle requests for specified department heads.
- The 2016 Wage and Cell summary was unanimously approved. Grose made it a point of record this summary showed some department heads making the same or less than a patrolman or firefighter, and department heads, per instruction by the majority vote of the Common Council’s approved salary ordinance, had the 2 percent pay increase. He noted he was one of the minority votes in the matter.
- Approved travel requests for Thallemer, Warsaw Police Officer Brad Kellar and police chief Scott Whitaker.
- Signed not-for-profit 2016 agreements with: Animal Welfare League, $19,000; CCAC, $31,000; Center for Lakes & Streams, $10,000; Housing Authority, $30,000; KABS, $18,500; KABS Capital Improvement, $10,000; KEDCo, $55,000; Kosciusko Community Senior Services, $15,000; and WCDC, $17,500.