MAHONING COUNTY Officials OK pact to inspect bridges

Published: Fri, August 17, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Peter H. Milliken


Mahoning County commissioners approved a $56,619 contract with Jones-Stucky Ltd. engineering consultants of Akron to perform safety inspections of 28 of the county’s bridges to determine what their weight limits should be.

If an inspection, which measures the strength of steel and concrete, finds that a bridge is deficient, Jones-Stucky will advise the county to limit its load or close it, said Marilyn Kenner, chief deputy county engineer.

“Anything that’s deficient that we can make repairs to, we start planning our repairs based on that” inspection, Kenner said.

Kenner told the commissioners Thursday her office wants to avoid a tragedy, such as the Aug. 1, 2007, collapse of an interstate highway bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, which killed 13 people and injured 145 others.

After the Minnesota tragedy, the Federal Highway Administration ordered all the nation’s bridges inspected and rated as to what loads they can safely handle.

On Feb. 20, 1984, the Oak Street bridge at Lincoln Park on Youngstown’s East Side, which had a posted 10-ton weight limit, collapsed into a ravine, as a 10-ton truck carrying 20 tons of steel coil drove over it. “We never want that to happen again,” Kenner said.

Three people were injured, but there were no fatalities in the 1984 collapse. That bridge was never replaced.

The commissioners also approved a road-use maintenance agreement with CNX Gas Co. of Canonsburg, Pa., under which that company is improving sections of Bailey and Blott roads in North Jackson that will be used by trucks going to and from a gas well drilling site along Blott Road.

The company will also make any necessary road repairs after drilling is completed.

The commissioners approved a memorandum of understanding with the clerk of courts office and its labor union, under which 59 deputy court clerks will begin paying their employee share of Public Employee Retirement System contributions, which is 10 percent of salary and which the county now pays in full.

Next month, employees will begin paying 5 percent of their wages into PERS and receive a 6.5 percent pay increase to offset the PERS contribution.

In June 2013, the employees will begin paying the additional 5 percent of their wages into PERS and again receive a 6.5 percent pay raise to offset that contribution.

Mark Stan, chief steward of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3956, which represents the deputy clerks, said the deal is “basically a wash” when income taxes on the increased wages are considered.

The same PERS contribution arrangement will apply to the clerk’s office management, said Scott Grossen, office administrator.

The annual pay of full-time unionized deputy clerks ranges from $22,984 for the lowest-paid file clerk to $37,419 for the highest-paid head bookkeeper.

The commissioners approved contracts totaling $24,372 for relocation and installation of filing and shelving systems by Record Systems Inc. of Boardman and $3,560 for office furniture and file box moving by Cleland Brothers of Boardman.

These expenses pertain to the move this fall of the clerk of courts’ auto title department from the South Side Annex to Oakhill Renaissance Place.

The commissioners also approved a $3,830 contract for a pre-demolition asbestos survey by Environmental Protection Systems Inc. of Girard pertaining to the annex, in case it is demolished after the county closes it this fall.

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