City of Dexter Saves Big On New Assessor, Passes Safe Routes To School Project Scope Amid Some Dissent

Taxpayers in the Dexter city limits got a deal Monday night when the City Council approved a bid for assessing services that came in significantly lower than the $50,000 to $60,000 originally projected for assessing service costs when cityhood was merely a potentiality being studied.

With the acceptance of the $29,952 bid by Renius & Renius, the city will employ the broad rural-focused expertise of firm Principal Christopher Renius at nearly 50 percent of that projected cost.

“When we talked about becoming a city some people talked about $50,000 or $60,000,” City Councilman Joe Semifero said in response to fellow Councilwoman Julie Knight, who wished that there had been more than two bids. The other bid was from WCA Assessing.

Renius & Renius is a full service assessment administration firm that has been in business for 17 years serving small rural townships, large urban townships, villages and cities, according to Renius in a letter to council. He will appear before Dexter officials at a regular meeting in March.

Christopher works with his brother and wife as the three sole employees of the company, which was an enticing characteristic of the small company to City Manager Courtney Nichols.

“One of the things that we liked was that it’s one person,” Nichols said. With WCA the village would have had one person show up to municipal meetings, but others at the firm would handle other aspects of the work behind the scenes.

Knight added that she is familiar with Renius & Renius from their work in Dexter Township, while Nichols said she has heard of the firm working in Lima. Neither had a bad thing to say about the firm’s reputation, and the council subsequently accepted the bid unanimously.

The contract price for the firms services would be locked in for two years.

Safe Routes To School project engineering services proposals passes amid concerns

City officials moved forward with engineering firm OHM’s work on engineering services for the 2015 Safe Routes to School project, which will cost $216,000 to construct.

The engineering services will cost the city $45,600 after the Chelsea Area Wellness Foundation picks up 40 percent of the bill through a grant to help the project along.

Although CAWF is providing support, city officials expressed concerns over whether or not Dexter Community Schools would chip in to help.

The school district is having financial troubles after another round of cuts to the per pupil foundation allowance, for which more details can be found here.

“Can we expect to get something from them,” City Councilman Jim Carson asked, to which Mayor Shawn Keough responded that he had talked to DCS Superintendent Chris Timmis as recently as Saturday evening.

“He says there’s nothing budgeted … he was still checking,” Keough said. “I’m hoping that later this week we’ll hear.”

Keough added that having to shoulder all of the burden outside of CAWF’s support is “ahead of the budget that we had anticipated.”

OHM Project Engineer Patrick Droze said that he will look for efficiency and other cost savings once the project work begins .

The engineering work proposal passed with a solitary no-vote from City Councilman Joe Semifero.

OHM Project Engineer Patrick Droze promises cost savings once Safe Routes To School work begins.
OHM Project Engineer Patrick Droze promises cost savings once Safe Routes To School work begins.

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