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Trumbull commissioners wary of Geauga facility’s price tag

WARREN — Trumbull County commissioners said the bids that came in for a new household hazardous waste collection facility in Geauga County came in higher than expected.

The three Trumbull County commissioners and the three Geauga County commissioners sit on the board of directors for the Geauga Trumbull Solid Waste Management District, which uses landfill dumping fees to fund recycling-based activities in both counties.

The facility in Trumbull County, situated on Enterprise Drive near an on-ramp for state Routes 5 / 82, was built there so people coming in from different parts of both counties would have easy access. However, the Geauga County commissioners were concerned the location wasn’t centralized enough for their residents.

“Some of their residents have to drive an hour away to use the facility on Enterprise,” said Trumbull County Commissioner Dan Polivka.

But commissioner Frank Fuda said when the idea of building a facility in Geauga County came up in the last year or two, the cost was estimated at $700,000, but no more than $1 million.

Of the five bids that came in for the structure, the lowest came in at $1.696 million, and the most expensive one came in at $1.84 million. With added options, the lowest price is $1.730 million and the highest was $1.883 million.

“I am not in favor of spending $1.7 million on a facility there. I understand they want a more central location for their residents, but we put this facility in Warren where we did so it could be accessible to both counties. If we knew both counties would have their own facilities, we would have built the Trumbull location in a place that was more central to all of Trumbull County. There are people in Hubbard and Bloomfield who could use a closer location,” Fuda said.

And Fuda said he wants to see more information about how much staffing would be needed at the new facility.

Trumbull County Commissioner Mauro Cantalamessa said there has been talk about an additional collection facility in Geauga County for some time, and because it is a joint district, he isn’t necessarily opposed to using funds for a new facility because the district does service both counties.

“That said, this process began with just a bare-bones, no frills collection site. I don’t know if these bids are reflective of that. And, if they are not, we need to pare down the scope of this project. We certainly want to provide the accessibility and service for the district residents in Geauga, but we also need to be mindful of the financial impact this facility will have on the district moving forward,” Cantalamessa said.

A meeting scheduled for Thursday was canceled because the Trumbull commissioners wanted more information and time to address the issue. The meeting is rescheduled for noon Jan. 23.

“I feel the estimate is too high, and we wanted to reschedule it to sit down and discuss how we can trim off the cost. The funding is not taxpayer money, but a generated fee on companies dumping into the landfill generating money for services for recycling and programs for the citizens of both counties,” Polivka said.

Although the figures originally discussed by the six commissioners were under $1 million, by the time the architect design firm put together the bid specifications with input from the commissioners, their estimate was $1.6 million.

Fuda said with an average dropoff of 25 appliances per month, he questions whether that warrants a new expensive facility in a county with half the people of Trumbull, or even staffing the Trumbull facility five days per week. The latter is a new, recent implementation that Fuda said many other solid waste management facilities don’t do because it isn’t necessary.

The following submitted base bids at the following amounts for the construction of the facility:

• B&B Contractors of Youngstown, $1.760 million;

• Hummel Construction of Ravenna, $1.734 million;

• C. Tucker Cope of Columbiana, $1.849 million;

• Greenheart Companies of Youngstown, $1.696 million;

• VendRick Construction of Brookfield, $1.724 million.

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