Despite argument, supervisors vote to move ahead with pole building plans
A progress report on the pole building that Mahoning Township supervisors are looking to construct to satisfy the violations raised by the Department of Labor and Industry resulting from complaints by Police Chief Kenneth Barnes, ended up in an argument between two supervisors even though a 4-1 vote directed the building committee to move forward at Monday evening's meeting.
The supervisors were under a March deadline to have work begin on the building or be fined by L&I.
"I don't want to see taxes raised in this township," said Supervisor Travis Steigerwalt after the vote, which resulted in an argument between he and Supervisor Frank Ruch.
The discussion began civilly as Ruch and Supervisor Bruce Steigerwalt updated the board on figures for pole buildings they received from two companies approved by the state contract known as COSTARs. This allows municipalities to directly purchase goods and services without following a bidding process as the companies are considered to be pre-approved by the state.
Steigerwalt said the two companies were within a few thousand dollars of each other, with Pioneer providing an estimate of $159,670 and Shirk providing a price of $157,570. Bruce Steigerwalt pointed out those prices did not include several additional items to finish the inside, as well as engineering fees and other expenses, so with those additional costs added, along with prevailing wages, the costs for the buildings were $268,356 for Shirk and $270,666 for Pioneer.
Bruce Steigerwalt recommended using Shirk Buildings as it was able to not only provide CAD files to the engineer for the building, but also was able to provide the lean-to structure on the rear that would prevent having to heat the entire building.
The building the board is discussing will house the road equipment and tools in the main bays of the garage, with the lunch room and office area in the smaller lean-to area in the rear of the building.
The Pioneer plans would expand the building creating the office space with a full 16-foot height instead of the nine-foot high office area in the Shirk building.
At that point, Travis Steigerwalt said, "Bruce, you got a little upset and challenged me to come up with something better. We've been focusing on getting the road crew out of the building. It might be cheaper to get the office and police out of the building."
Travis Steigerwalt proposed that a commercial pole barn building would be less expensive, estimating its cost to be $50,000, and with the extras, between $100,000 to $125,000. A modular building would range from $170,000 to $175,000. He said he did not have bids yet but had made inquiries.
"Both my ways leave money in the building fund and not raise taxes," he said.
Ruch responded by saying that no one said the existing plans would remove all the funds from the building fund.
"But this money was for a township building, not a garage," Travis Steigerwalt said.
"Where are the prevailing wages in your figures?" Ruch responded. "You had four years (as a supervisor)] to put this together."
"I'm the one who was pushing this," Steigerwalt said.
"You can't come along now and totally change things," Ruch said.
Chairman John Wieczorek called the question as to whether to continue moving forward with this, reminding the board it was under a March constraint by L&I to show it was progressing toward solving the building issues with the fumes and other complaints.
The board then voted 4-1 to approve Bruce Steigerwalt and Ruch to continue progressing with the plans. Supervisor Travis Steigerwalt was the lone dissenter.
"To drop everything and move forward (in a different direction) makes no sense," Wieczorek said to Travis Steigerwalt.
"But raising taxes does?" Steigerwalt fired back.
Ruch responded to Steigerwalt's retort with his own.
"Where were you the past four years Travis?" Ruch asked. "Show me your numbers, the real numbers."
"I just told you I don't have numbers yet," he answered.
Ruch reiterated that Steigerwalt had four years on the board to have done this, and he didn't so they (he and Bruce) stepped in and did it.
Voices briefly raised between Steigerwalt and Ruch, but Wieczorek gaveled them down and asked for a motion to have secretary/treasurer Natalie Haggerty begin to prepare a loan application for a 2 percent loan.
That vote also carried 4-1 with Travis Steigerwalt opposing, citing his disapproval of the process.