Dover takes action to continue cost savings at light plant

Dover takes action to continue cost savings at light plant

Image Credit: Teri Stein

Jason Hall, Dover light plant superintendent, thanked council members at their Nov. 7 meeting for the cooperation they have shown to him and other light plant employees over the past year.

Hall spoke at the end of a utility committee meeting in which several pieces of legislation for light plant maintenance were discussed along with the ways the ordinances could save money for the city.

“Believe it or not, it's been almost a year ago already that I stood before you in the same very spot. And I felt betrayed, I felt alone and I felt like I was on an island. I should say we were left here in a mess,” Hall said. “We had over expenditures. We had a lack of communication. And most importantly to me, we had a lack of trust between council, the administration and my department. There were a lot of questions, a lot of raised eyebrows and frustration, but you wanted the whole story. And most of all, you wanted the truth.

“We worked through every item of concern and expense over time. And we are heading, in my opinion, in the right direction. I can stand here before you this evening and tell you that I am going to make mistakes as superintendent of the light plant. But with transparency and communication, I feel that my department has turned a corner and has a better relationship with you all. I feel we have a better relationship with my employees. And I feel the morale is better in my department than it has been in a long time.

“We now have communication over expenses, projects and the operations. In closing, I'm not looking for a pat on the back or an ‘atta boy’ from anyone, from administration, from counsel, from the media, from the public, but I just want to take the opportunity to thank you as a council, as an administration, as a city, for working with me and my department during these trying times and for being there for us, the light plant and the city of Dover, so I thank you.”

Council appreciated the comments.

“I think that your previous boss was the one that destroyed the relationship severely, and I am grateful that you are here to pick up the pieces,” council member Bob Mueller said.

During the public participation part of the meeting, Jennifer Flaherty also thanked council for their efforts.

“It's so nice to see Dover blossoming again, having some good press, and everybody seems to be doing an amazing job,” Flaherty said.

During the safety and HR committee meeting, Chief Russ Volkert gave council information on Emergency Ordinance 60-22. A new fee schedule could be set to go into effect in January for ambulance services. The ordinance will allow for rate increases, billing changes and provide for annual cost of living adjustments. Council took no action on the legislation yet.

Interim Mayor Shane Gunnoe reported on many items including the Canal Dover Association recently installing pictures on the traffic boxes that were installed along Wooster Avenue.

“Each image is related in some way to the area where it is posted,” Gunnoe said as he encouraged others to look for this addition to the city.

The City of Dover helped fund the project through a Bed Tax Grant provided to the Canal Dover Association.

A working group comprised of New Philadelphia Mayor Joel Day and Service Director Ron McAbier, Gunnoe, Dover Service Director Dave Douglas, Volkert, TuscParks manager Jesse Rothacher, and Dan Rice of the Ohio and Erie Canalway Coalition is meeting to secure funding for the final leg of the towpath trail through Dover and New Philadelphia.

They would like to acquire funding from part of the $500 million Ohio Builds fund for Appalachian communities.

On Nov. 21 at 7 p.m., a Committee of the Whole meeting was set for council to hear a presentation to discuss development of the proposed North Dover Commerce Park.

“Friday, we received an initial economic impact analysis of the project, and the developer’s group would like to present that information to council and answer any questions they may have,” Gunnoe said.

Gunnoe was pleased with the turnout for the Dover Halloween Parade and announced the Christmas Parade will be held Saturday, Dec. 3. Registration is on the city website at www.doverohio.com or by calling parade chairman John McFadden at 330-343-6740.

Legislation passed at the meeting included the following:

—Emergency Ordinance 54-22, which authorized the expenditure of funds for service to be acquired to test and demonstrate compliance with environmental standards for the Dover light plant.

—Emergency Ordinance 55-22, authorizing the service director to advertise for bids and enter into a contract for the ASME R stamp certified welder and a helper and other welder classifications as contained in the SSOE bid specifications for the shutdown and remainder of the year at the Dover light plant in an amount not to exceed $100,000 without further council authorization.

—Emergency Ordinance 56-22, authorizing the expenditure of funds for service and parts from sole source providers Babcock & Wilcox, Detroit Stoker and Point Power Inc. under ORC Section 735.051 without formal bidding during the outage of the power plant in spring or fall 2023 for the work on the boiler, to do work to keep the plant in good working order, and to facilitate continued compliance necessary for operation and production of power at the Dover light and power plant in an amount not to exceed $250,000 for the three companies.

—Emergency Ordinance 58-22, authorizing the service director to advertise for bids and enter into a contract for the installation of a new ballfield 8-foot-wide walk path from the restrooms near the tennis courts at Dover City Park to the Goettge Run cul-de-sac at a cost not to exceed $158,000.

—Emergency Resolution 32-22, approving the Stark-Tuscarawas-Wayne Joint Waste Management District’s amended draft 2023 Solid Waste Management Plan on file with the service director’s office.

At the end of the meeting, council went into executive session to discuss contractual negotiations.

The next meeting will be held Nov. 21 beginning with committee meetings at 6:25 p.m.