MILAN VS. ODOT Bickley: 'We'll shut the road down'

MILAN - Would Milan really shut down the northbound side of U.S. 250 near the southern boundary of the village and cut off the major route north in the area? Mayor Robert Bickley threatened to do just that if the Ohio Department of Transportation and other state officials can't help fund the $100,000 needed to repair erosion on the federal highway discovered after heavy rains in September.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 25, 2010

MILAN - Would Milan really shut down the northbound side of U.S. 250 near the southern boundary of the village and cut off the major route north in the area?

Mayor Robert Bickley threatened to do just that if the Ohio Department of Transportation and other state officials can't help fund the $100,000 needed to repair erosion on the federal highway discovered after heavy rains in September.

Bickley wrote letters to state representatives Matthew Barret and Sue Moreno for help in finding funds for the emergency repairs.

"Our final position remains IF ODOT insists the village is financially responsible and IF the roadway is in such condition as to be of possible danger to the public and IF the village is liable for any harm that may be caused to the traveling public, the village will utilize the $2,907.36 to purchase orange barrels and ROAD CLOSED signage to close U.S. 250's northbound lane immediately and until such time as the village receives enough road tax funds to make the necessary repairs," Bickley wrote.

The $2,907 Bickley mentioned is the current balance in the village gasoline tax fund, which is earmarked for road repairs.

Until a resolution is found for the conflict, ODOT has put up orange barrels near the side of the road where the berm has collapsed.

The village does have a levy for street and sewer repair, but administrator Bruce Bowie said it wasn't intended for federal or state highways. "When we put that levy on for the residents, it was for their streets not the federal and state roads," he said. "If it was put on the ballot for those roads, it would get a resounding 'no' vote."

Bowie added that the levy generates about $100,000 a year so it would take a year to gather the funds for the U.S. 250 repairs and that would leave nothing to take care of streets that village residents use daily.

Bowie said the village's street superintendent noticed the erosion after a severe thunderstorm in early September. The village notified ODOT for assistance in repairing the problem.

ODOT's answer was one the village didn't want to hear.

"ODOT again urgently recommends the village take immediate action to correct this condition which is clearly the responsibility of the village of Milan," wrote Tim Farley, highway management administrator for ODOT, in a letter to Bowie. "Should the village fail to respond to my office . . ., ODOT will proceed with measures to secure an emergency contract to repair this hazard."

Farley gave the village a Nov. 9 deadline and said the village would be billed directly for all costs for the repair if ODOT does the work. He estimated a $100,000 bill.

Bowie agreed with ODOT's contention that according to Ohio Revised Code, the village is responsible for maintaining all federal and state highways within village limits. But that doesn't make it feasible, he said.

"It's a classic case of unfunded mandates," he said. With only about $3,000 a year income from gasoline tax, he questioned how federal and state governments can expect the village to make major emergency repairs to a highway that takes people past the village rather than through the village. "We've probably spent that just mowing the grass on the roadsides for state and federal roads," he said.

Bickley agreed that state and federal governments were expecting too much of local communities by dumping all maintenance for state and federal roads on small communities. "Hopefully, we can get some cooperation from ODOT," he said.

Huron County Engineer Joe Kovach has also agreed to help Milan and ODOT look for funding for the project. "It's not really a Huron County engineer problem, but I try to work with everybody," Kovach said. "In the spirit of all working together, we're trying to help out."

Brian Stacy, ODOT district 3 spokesman, said ORC is very clear in detailing the village's responsibility for the cost of the repair. He said if ODOT completes the work, the department would bill the village for materials, labor, overhead and equipment.

"We sought to meet with the village and were unable to set a meeting to discuss how to proceed further," he said. "It's an obvious safety concern."

That concern prompted Farley's letter giving the village a deadline to take action, Stacy said.

ODOT officials have met with Bickley and Bowie since then, Stacy said, to talk about possible funding options for the project.

"We're continuing to work with the village and continuing to work on an amicable solution while at the same time trying to protect the safety of the motorists that use U.S. 250," Stacy said.

Stacy would make no projections as to what ODOT would do if the village can't find funding and shuts down the northbound side of the highway. "We'll cross that bridge when we get to it," he said.

Comments

swiss family......

leave it to Milan , to think that they don't have to spend any money to keep their roads up!! enough money spending tourists travel that road into milan to spend their vacation dollars in that village, and to make it a "must see" place for them to spend their money in, but as far as Milan spending some of their cash to improve their roads, forget it..

re: swiss famil...

You rode the short bus to school didn't you??

Big Al (Anonymous)

If you live in Milan you better hope you house doesn't catch on fire at lunchtime. I just passed Mc Donald's on Rt 250
near EHOVE and 2 of Milan's Fire Trucks were there eating lunch I have never seen any other city do this.Check this out Bob. Maybe you can shut the firehouse down if they don't behave.

to Big Al-from ...

The Fire trucks were rewarding the children who drew
the winning posters for Fire Prevention week, so not
something bad but something very good. Good Public
Relations, do not judge a book by the cover. The Milan
Fire Department is under Milan Township, not the Village, so Mayor Bob has nothing to say what they do, that is the Township Trustees who I am sure do not mind that the Fire
employees are doing something very worthwhile. As a parent of one of these children, I am very appreciative.

Thanksgiving Vi...

Shut down US 250 in Milan? Interesting concept that. I'm curious though...is Avery responsible for the six lanes that were installed a few years ago...how about Perkins Twp. I'm not sure townships are actually defined as municipalities...does that mean the state and federal government picked up the tab from the turnpike to Sandusky? How does that rate inthe fair and equitable treatment department? The proble is unfunded mandates...we want to build the road, but we want you to take care of it and bear the expense of it. Fines for moving violations do not go into the highway department; they are already earmarked by ORC. Milan has to depend on gas taxes to accumulate that money...how many stations are there in the village? The Gulf stations that were downtown on the square and next to the Homestead Inn Motel are long since gone. Where does the money come from?

Newton (Anonymous)

Milan isn't a township, it's a village. You're right in that tickets issued by village cops out there on 250 doesn't go directly into their street budget but it does go into the village's pocket. This is nothing new when it comes to the state demanding that a town, village, city or whatever pay the cost of repairs done to state highways passing through their boundries. As much as Bickley and the other people want to whine and cry about it, making it sound like Milan is being singled out, they're not. Last time 250 through Norwalk was resurfaced, they had to come up with money. Just recently the city was informed they will have to pay the state when the US 20 bypass will be resurfaced next year for the portion of the road that falls inside the city limits. Maybe the mayor of Norwalk should threaten to close the bypass with orange barrels when the state comes for payment. Why pay when Milan doesn't pay?

swiss families....

leave it to me , to think that i don't have to spend any money to keep my thoughts up!! enough money to spend on gasoline travel to that road into oz, to spend my brain dollars in that village, and to make it a "must see tv" place for me to spend my money in, but as far as swiss families are spending some of my cash to improve my life, don't forget it..

Construction Gu...

Lets everybody settle down a little bit. It is true that Ohio Revised Code requires the village to pay to maintain the road. But the Mayor is within his right to ask for help. ODOT is not required to help, but I would not be surprised to see ODOT offer some help, so there certainly is no harm in asking, although the threat to close the road is only a threat. By the way, Milan gets a share of gas taxes from the state based upon a formula used for disbursement. It doesn't matter if they have any gas stations within the village limits.
While we are on the subject, as much as we all dislike orange barrels, please understand that the barrels will be out there for at least a year and a half. The bridges, out there are some of those functionally obsolete bridges that need to be replaced. They have been there a long time and have served us well. The new bridges will be wider and safer, but short of closing the road down for at least 9 months, the only way to build the replacement structures is to build half at a time. This will require lots of barrels to get us through the work zones over the next 18 or so months, but at least we don't have some long detour that takes us way out of our way.
Please get in the habit of giving yourself a couple extra minutes to get through the area, and remember there are lots of local Dads and Moms working out there to get these improvements made so that it will be more than 50 years before these new bridges need to be replaced. Keep the speed down and appreciate the difficult work these people do. Its really not so bad.

maybe (Anonymous)

The village can get some kind special fund or grant, since it is the birthplace of thomas edison. national monument fund or something.....

Just an opinion...

Milan's yearly gas tax equals about $3000.00, right? So it'll take the Village over 30 years to pay off the debt of fixing the highway. In those 30 years the roads throughout the village will go to hell from local residents driving on them daily. Unfortunately the Village will not have the money to fix those roads because they're using every last penny of their gas tax money to pay back the State of Ohio. The State of Ohio, on the other hand, will be living it up because they don't have to use their budget which is intended for the upkeep of Ohio's roads. Funny thing, for the idiots who keep mentioning the Milan Police Officers giving tickets - the Ohio State Highway Patrol can give a person a ticket on those same roads and I've even seen them sitting at the corner of 113 and 250 waiting to catch someone going in or out of the actual Village. Also, money the Village receives from tickets is used for other Village needs. The CITY OF NORWALK is just that, a city with a bigger budget. Villages are much smaller than cities, and so are their budgets. People keep wanting to compare apples to oranges. I agree with Mayor Bickley. If he agrees to fix the bridge on 250 then he's spending all the Village's gas tax money for the next 30 years. If ODOT fixes it on their own, the same thing happens. If it's not fixed and someone gets hurt then they would sue the Village which would probably result in more than $100,000.00 in legal fees and whatever. If it's closed than no one gets hurt and people are just sent out of their way a little bit without spending money the Village doesn't have. People forget that the Mayor has to consider more than just one thing when making a decision. If you think it's an easy decision, try doing his job for a week. Don't criticise unless you can do better.

Newton (Anonymous)

It's just this plain and simple. If you can't afford the upkeep of a road, then don't annex it! Milan knew what it was getting itself into when they expanded their boundries to include 250. Now they don't want to pay....am I wrong? Oh, just so you know, if the state patrol gives tickets inside the boundries of Milan, Milan gets the majority of the fine money.(http://www.statepatrol.ohio.gov/...)
Last thing, yes Norwalk is bigger than Milan but how many more miles of roads does Norwalk have to maintain over Milan? 250 will be fixed one way or the other. Either Milan comes up with the money or the state will fix it and bill Milan or garnish Milan's tax money they receive from the state.

Bear Facts (Ano...

to Mr Newton
you may want to call the State patrol, the tickets written by the state patrol do not go to the local towns regardless of where they write them, money goes back to the state patrol and county or muni courts..not the towns, it is all public record, call any town and ask them how much money came to them from the State Patrol or even the Sheriff's Department.. You will get the same answer...NONE.
it is public record, take the time to get the facts right.
I know,I work for the State patrol. You are way off base with your claims. Sorry to burst your bubble..

Richard (Anonymous)

Milan only gets $3,000 annual for their gas tax fund ? Hard to believe -- I know townships that get 20 times that much. Milan's last audit (for 2005) showed they received $77,550 total in intergovernmental funds (most of which would possibly be gas tax, and a total of $186,862 in special revenue funds, which is listed as being all in their "Street Construction, Maintenance, and Repair Fund"

See www.auditor.state.oh.us/AuditSea...

No, it wouldn't take them 30 years to pay for a $100,000 fix. It also shouldn't take an ultimatum to get the state to pay for THEIR highway. Stop grandstanding, get an emergency loan, get the road fixed and work out the details with ODOT while it's being fixed.

By the way, that 2005 report shows they received $63,644 in "Fines, Licenses and Penalties". Most of that went into the General Fund, but there is a way that even that can be spent on roads and streets.

JEF (Anonymous)

Perhaps it's time to dust off the idea of selling state assets like the Ohio Turnpike to help fund much needed and growing highway repair and maintenance?

Rs: Bear Facts ...

I don't need to call the State Patrol. Unless they are totally fabricating what's on their website, then I'm right. Follow this link and read what they have to say. www.statepatrol.ohio.gov/FAQsenf... Since Milan would have to have some kind of Muni court (either a Mayor's court or in conjunction with another city or county agency) they do get the money from the tickets issued inside of their boundries. The state patrol is funded from a gas tax so they technically don't need the money from tickets they issue. Of course since the state is greedy, they do keep a portion of the money but the remainder is returned to the municipality or county that the ticket was issued in, read the site. You proved me right by your own admission in your last statement, "the money goes back to the state patrol and the county or muni courts". So if the fine money goes to the muni court in Milan, the village on Milan is getting the money.

Re: Bear Facts ...

I don't need to call the State Patrol. Unless they are totally fabricating what's on their website, then I'm right. Follow this link and read what they have to say. www.statepatrol.ohio.gov/FAQsenf... Since Milan would have to have some kind of Muni court (either a Mayor's court or in conjunction with another city or county agency) they do get the money from the tickets issued inside of their boundries. The state patrol is funded from a gas tax so they technically don't need the money from tickets they issue. Of course since the state is greedy, they do keep a portion of the money but the remainder is returned to the municipality or county that the ticket was issued in, read the site. You proved me right by your own admission in your last statement, "the money goes back to the state patrol and the county or muni courts". So if the fine money goes to the muni court in Milan, the village on Milan is getting the money.

Light Bulb (Ano...

Hey I have a great thought
Lets ask Jpan for a donation
Thay did donate money to the Tom Edison Muesum
to keep the lights on.When no one eles wanted to help??
Think about it

Phonograph (Ano...

Dear Mr.Bulb,
I say, that is a capital idea. Have you ever noticed that most of the autos that travel that particular route happen to be Japanese? Why yes, I say make the Japs pay or we'll bomb them back to before electricity.
Entertainingly yours,
Phonograph

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