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Published: Wednesday, 7/12/2006

Bedford Twp. residents blast project cost

TEMPERANCE - Six township residents expressed dismay over the handling of the Indian Creek Road improvement project at a public hearing that opened last night's Bedford Township board meeting.

The residents said they hadn't understood how high the per-parcel cost would be when they initially signed off on the project. About 30 people attended the public hearing, and a half-dozen made complaints.

"All of a sudden the township sends us a bill for $6,133. I don't see how you can pass this cost on without a vote," resident Tom Snyder said. He said the Township Road Commission initially told them the cost would be around $3,500.

"Is there still a chance that we can say no? Can I still take my name off the list?" Harry Reames asked.

But Township Clerk Robert Schockman said that as long as half of the Special Assessment District wants to go ahead with it, "As facilitators, we have very little options. That's why we have our lawyer present, and that's why we are going ahead with it today."

Mr. Schockman said the district has 45 parcels, and 32 of the parcel-holders had signed the petition in favor of the project, which is 71 percent of the district's residents and 74 percent of its square footage.

Two township board members said they agreed with resident that the $6,133 per-parcel cost was higher than previously stated.

"It seems that the final number is generally very different from the original," member Rick Steiner said. "Maybe the process needs additional consideration."

Trustee Dennis Steinman agreed. "You are 'guestimating' in the beginning before you get some hard engineering facts to determine what the cost is really going to be. But this was off quite a bit. I can see how this can mislead someone from the beginning," he said.

Mr. Schockman and Nancy Tienvieri of the Monroe County Road Commission both advocated inflating the initial cost estimates by about 20 percent so the amount would only decrease over time.The total cost for the improvement is estimated at $275,995.

The board approved the motion 6-0. Member Larry O'Dell was absent. More than 15 people left after the road improvement discussion adjourned.

In other business, the board put forward a resolution supporting Erie Township residents' efforts to oppose the use of eminent domain.

Monroe County commissioners recently approved a similar resolution in support of the township residents' efforts.



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