TRUMBULL COUNTY Flood projects on schedule

Officials expect it to take three years to complete all of them.
NILES -- Though city officials have received nowhere near the amount of flooding complaints they did last summer, they are still working hard to address problem areas.
A floodwaters task force -- created last fall by Mayor Ralph A. Infante and made up of various city officials -- compiled a list of 25 projects throughout the city targeted at fixing or replacing some culverts and sections of the sewer and sanitary systems.
To date, about 40 percent of the projects are completed. Engineering is finished and construction already started on roughly 20 percent of the others.
The remaining projects will be ready for construction either next year or in 2006.
"We are on schedule," said Mark Hess, city engineer. "We said it would take us three years to complete everything, and that's about where we are."
When the task force completed the list last fall, none of the projects were prioritized. Engineers did preliminary work to determine which projects were the most crucial and most feasible and tackled the list from there.
Planning, design and construction for all of the projects is estimated to total between $4 million and $5 million.
Hess said some of the projects were part of the city's routine repair and replacement schedule, while others were added specifically by the task force.
Funding for some of the projects has been covered with state and federal money, like Issue 2 grants, Hess said. But some of the work will be paid for with the sewer fee increase city council established last year.
At Infante's request, city council last September raised the monthly sewer rates by $2 for residents, $6 for commercial businesses and $20 for industrial companies. The extra fees are expected to generate $223,000 annually, specifically for the floodwaters task force's projects.

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