The Summit County Council on Monday formally approved the “Pipeline Emergency Response Fund” intended to pay for services in the event of a natural gas pipeline emergency in the county.

Starting in 2021, the fund — proposed in response to the now-functioning $2.1 billion Nexus natural gas pipeline that runs through part of the county — will collect about $100,000 annually in property taxes from pipeline operators. The money will be used to pay for training, planning and equipment for local emergency responders.

The council also on Monday received a 2019 preliminary operating budget.

According to the county executive's web site, the county is looking at a 2019 operating budget of $546.7 million, which is 1.7 percent higher than the 2018 adjusted budget of $537.7 million. The 2018 operating budget as originally passed in late 2017 totaled nearly $529.2 million. The county's latest budget document says it projects revenue collection will be flat next year.

The council will act on the operating budget at upcoming meetings.

In other action Monday, the council:

• Authorized an agreement among the county, the Development Finance Authority and others involving the Akron Civic Theatre portion of the Bowery Project in downtown Akron.

The finance authority owns the land under the theater and the other buildings that are part of the project. Work was scheduled to begin Monday on the $42 million project following Friday’s official groundbreaking ceremony, with a goal to finish by the end of November 2019.

The agreement means the county will provide what are called representative services to the Development Finance Authority and theater.

• Authorized an enterprise zone agreement among the county, Cuyahoga Falls and Williams Land Corp. that allows tax incentives for a company that plans to expand inside the zone.

• Authorized spending up to $840,000 with American Rock Salt for road salt for the 2018-19 winter season. That works out to $105 a ton; the county last year paid $48 a ton for road salt.

• Approved under the consent agenda a $509,108 contract with Kenmore Construction Co to remove the North Main Street Bridge over the Howard Street ramp in Akron.

In upcoming meetings, the county council will vote on proposals to:

• Award $165,428 to the Thrasher Group to design the reconstruction of the intersection of Cleveland-Massillon Road at Ridgewood Road in Copley Township.

• Renew a lease with Summit Artspace for space at the Akron Center Building on East Market Street for a five-year term at a cost of $1 a year.

• Authorize the county executive to execute a cooperative agreement involving the development of the Firestone Business Park in Akron on the former Firestone campus. The agreement is with the city of Akron and others.

The county is buying land in the park to put up a large garage and offices for its department of sanitary services.

 

Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or jmackinnon@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow him @JimMackinnonABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/JimMackinnonABJ