Tiffin Road and Bridge levy: Where we are now

As the City Engineer for the City of Tiffin, I want to continue to be transparent and provide annual year end updates to the taxpaying citizens of the City of Tiffin. When it was approved by voters in 2018, the goal of the City of Tiffin’s Road and Bridge levy was improve the road and bridge infrastructure, and we hope to continue to use those funds responsibly for the benefit of our community.

In 2021, the total revenue generated from the additional 0.25% income tax was $1,369,543.13. This was an increase from the $1,115,766.67 collected in 2019 and $1,275,557.14 collected in 2020. The annual expenses from this restricted fund were $1,132,825.85. These expenses breakdown as follows: $770,070.70 (Street Resurfacing Projects), $268,417.48 (Ella Street River Bridge Project — Design) and $94,337.67 (East Perry Street Reconstruction Project — Design). The carryover within the fund entering into fiscal year 2022 is $756,340.22.

The City of Tiffin was successfully able to leverage its local Road and Bridge Levy funds in 2021 with federal and state funding sources, which enabled nearly $1.7 million of investment into our roadways. Road and Bridge Levy dollars were leveraged with funding from the Ohio Public Works Commission, which funded $119,364.98 of a $359,768.16 project that resurfaced Hudson Street, Ash Street, Clyde Street, Oak Street and portions of North Monroe and Franklin streets. The remaining $529,667.52 of local expenditures from the Road and Bridge Levy was used to resurface and bring curb ramps into ADA conformity on 16 additional streets within the City of Tiffin via the city’s Annual Pavement Repair Program, to advertise legal notices for public bids and Requests for Qualifications for our street projects and to install monument boxes in order to preserve survey monuments within the roadways in which road construction was completed.  Furthermore, although the entire local share was funded via the city’s State Highway Fund, which is restricted towards expenditures on the state highways within the corporation limits of the City of Tiffin, the City also partnered with the Ohio Department of Transportation on an Urban Paving Program Project which resurfaced Melmore Street from Hedges Street to the city’s southerly corporation limits, South Washington Street between Sycamore Street and Riverside Drive and South Sandusky Street between Ella Street and Cottage Avenue. This program utilized federal Urban Paving dollars, which funded 80% of all resurfacing costs associated with this project.

In 2022, the City of Tiffin is proposing to continue our increased investment on our city streets by budgeting $800,000 towards street resurfacing, which is double the amount of dollars expended on street resurfacing prior to the passage of the levy in 2018. The proposed $800,000 budget is comprised of two separate projects. The first project is the 2022 Pavement Repair Program, which has an estimated cost of $750,000 and proposes to resurface a portion of at least 17 different streets. The second project is in collaboration with Clinton Township’s Ohio Public Works Commission Project which proposes to resurface Tyber Road between Maule Road and SR 53. The additional $50,000 budgeted will cover the City of Tiffin’s share for the portion of the project located within the City of Tiffin’s corporation limits.

Also in 2022, the City of Tiffin will be finalizing the design and soliciting bids for the construction contract for the Ella Street River Bridge Replacement Project. The City of Tiffin has secured $2,000,000 in federal funding via ODOT’s Municipal Bridge Program and $500,000 of state funding via the Ohio Public Works Commission to assist with offsetting the approximate $4,000,000 total estimated project cost. At this time, construction is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2023. The plans and contract for this project are being developed to promote that Ella Street will not be allowed to be fully closed to traffic prior to Memorial Day 2023, thus, intending to reduce the impact the construction of this project will have on our residents and Tiffin City Schools.  This strategized approach would only impact the school system during one school year, which ultimately provides a significant benefit, not only to the school district, but also to the residents in regard to planning and transportation. With this strategized approach, as long as there is cooperative weather throughout the 2023 construction season, the intent would be to have the bridge complete and open to vehicular traffic by December 2023.

Furthermore, in 2022 the City of Tiffin will continue moving forward with the design of the East Perry Street Reconstruction Project. Last year the City of Tiffin was excited to announce that they had received a federally funded grant via ODOT’s Small Cities Program to completely rebuild the failing East Perry Street roadway between Jefferson Street and Circular Street. The awarded grant will fund 95% of the construction and construction engineering expenses for this proposed estimated $1,125,000 project, which is scheduled to begin construction as early as late summer 2023.

As the City Engineer for the City of Tiffin, I feel that since the passage of the levy in 2018 we have begun taking the appropriate measures toward properly investing in the future of our 89 miles of roadway, 13 city maintained bridges and 11 roadway culverts. Since the levy’s passage nearly four years ago, we have been proactive leveraging as many Road and Bridge Levy funds as possible with state and federal grant dollars and have successfully secured approximately $4.9 million in additional grant funding to date.  This $4.9 million of additional funding secured to date exceeds the roughly $3.76 million of local tax dollars collected via the additional income tax to date. At this time, upon the conclusion of the first 5 year term implementing this levy, it is pretty safe to say the City of Tiffin will have obtained in excess of $11 million of improvements to our road and bridge infrastructure at the cost of only roughly $6-$6.5 million in local funding. Thus, these numbers further support the importance of this levy and the fact that we have stuck to our word and have created the foundation of a fiscally responsible and effective plan. Again, I cannot thank the residents of the City of Tiffin enough for their trust and support in the plan that we have created, and I look forward to continuing to implement the plan to improve the City of Tiffin’s infrastructure for many years to come!

By Matt Watson, City Engineer, City of Tiffin