Adam Gove

Richland County Engineer Adam Gove (Richland Source file photo)

MANSFIELD — A decline in expected gas tax revenue due to COVID-19 may impact road work planned in 2020, Richland County Engineer Adam Gove said Tuesday.

"It's definitely reduced from what we expected," Gove said during a county commissioners' meeting. "I haven't seen June's deposits, which will reflect money collected in April.

"But May was down $40,000 to $60,000 from what we expected to see," Gove said. "The May numbers are from March, which is when the shutdown began, but we were two-thirds of the way through the month when it began."

During a meeting in April, Gove said he believed department would lose about $100,000 each month in gas tax revenue during the stay-at-home order.

"We won't know what the total financial hit is until somewhere in the middle of summer. But we are expecting at least a 30-percent decrease in gas tax revenue during the time we are shut down," Gove said in April.

The pandemic, which led to Gov. Mike DeWine shutting down the state's "non-essential" economy in March, came during a year when Gove believed a 10.5 cents per gallon gas increase approved by the state this year would allow for longer-lasting road improvements on the county's 347 road miles and 360 bridges.

"We are definitely looking at cutting back on the amount of asphalt repairs we do. A second resurfacing project (on Windsor Road and the north end of Possum Run Road) may have to be delayed," Gove said.

"We are waiting to hear from Ohio Public Works if grant money was still going to be available in July and then we will have to see if we have local dollars to match," Gove said.

Gove said revenue his department receives through license fees has also suffered due to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles closing during the pandemic. He said that money is likely to come back now that local BMV offices are open again.

During the meeting, commissioners approved Gove's request to put a four-ton weight limit on a bridge on London West Road between the Shelby Reservoir and Ohio 61.

Gove said the road has more than 2,000 vehicles a day and the reduced weight limit would extend the life of the bridge.

Also on Tuesday, commissioners:

-- accepted the resignation of David Yoder from the Richland County Transit Board and appointed Gabe Zader as his replacement.

-- approved a contract to have the Richland County Sheriff's Office provide a school resource officer for the 2020-2021 school year.

-- met in executive session to discuss a potential land acquisition for the engineer's office. No action was taken.

-- met in executive session to discuss a potential hire in the wastewater treatment plant. Commissioners said the applications came prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and voted to open the application process again.

-- met in executive session to discuss compensation in the Richland County Jail. Afterward, commissioners approved an exception to the sick leave policy for a jail employee for up to 240 hours.

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City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"