Cuyahoga Falls -- City Council will vote Feb. 27 whether to forgo charging Woodridge Local Schools related fees to connect to city water and sewer lines when the district builds a new elementary school and adds on to its high school.

During a Council committee meeting Feb. 21, Law Director Russ Balthis explained that although tap-in fees are imposed on new constructions in the high pressure water district located in the northern section of the city, the administration is suggesting those fees be waived when Woodridge starts construction of a new 84,047 square foot elementary school and a 19,000 square foot high school gymnasium addition in the city.

Third Ward Councilman Vic Pallotta (R), chairman of the public affairs committee, said this would be a savings to the district of $199,000 ($94,000 for water and $105,000 for sewer).

Balthis said this project is worthy of the fee waivers.

"This will be a state-of-the art elementary school facility," he said. "And what's also very exciting is the relocation of Woodridge Intermediate School from the village of Peninsula to the city of Cuyahoga Falls will bring just over 50 new jobs with an annual payroll of $2.33 million into the city."

Workers on the building project, Balthis added, will contribute an estimated $225,000 in income tax to the city while construction is going on.

Finance Director Bryan Hoffman said tap-in fees were established in this area of the city to fund the water and sewer lines. Taking into account new residential developments planned in that area, he said he projects new tap-ins will cover remaining debt and the infrastructure will be paid off next year.

Tari Rivera, president of Regency Construction, said Woodridge passed a bond issue in November 2015 that funds three components: a new roof for the middle school -- which is completed -- an addition on the high school and a new PreK-5 elementary school on land that lies between Quick and State roads. Regency is Woodridge's owner's representative for the project, Rivera said.

Elementary and high school construction will begin in the spring with a groundbreaking ceremony on March 19, she said.

"The passing of this legislation will allow the school district to accomplish more of its master plan components that are not currently a part of the base bid on the base project due to budget pressures that were unknown at the beginning of the project, things like having to mitigate some wetlands, the cost of land bank credits (and) some soil stabilization," Rivera said.

Rivera said Woodridge Superintendent Walter Davis and the members of the Woodridge Local Board of Education are "so appreciative of their ongoing positive relationship with the city that has facilitated growth in the Woodridge part of the city."


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