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Columbus council agrees to purchase 25 more snowplows

(March 25, 2014) — The Columbus City Council allocated money to buy 25 new snowplows at last nights meeting, bringing the total purchased this year and last year to 52.

With the purchase, the city will have 158 snowplow-capable trucks, a 50 percent increase, said Jennifer Gallagher, deputy director of public service.

We want to ensure that these trucks are received by the beginning of the 2014-15 snow season, said Councilman Troy Miller in explaining why the city chose to suspend the bidding process.

Columbus has been criticized for how residential streets were cleared in recent months as heavy snow blanketed the region. The city has since said its reviewing its plowing procedures.

The trucks purchased last night, which will cost the city $3.1 million, were bought during a meeting in which the city council also approved $4.1 million for central Ohio social-service agencies.

Council members unanimously approved that amount for dozens of agencies to fund child-care centers, substance-abuse treatment centers, and job training and neighborhood outreach programs.

A few of the larger allocations:

Maryhaven: $520,894 LifeCare Alliance: $299,626 Action for Children: $195,334 Columbus Urban League: $160,995.

The funding level for 2014 is largely unchanged from the past two years, said Cynthia Rickman, spokeswoman for the citys Department of Development.

In other business, the council approved an $80,000 contract to increase the number of women and minorities in its police and fire divisions by hiring the public-relations firm Paul Werth and Associates to promote the jobs.

Paul Werth is working with the city under a $40,000 contract and conducted a firefighter expo this month to draw minority candidates.

Mayor Michael B. Coleman pushed the Division of Public Safety last year to review its hiring and recruitment practices in an attempt to increase diversity.

The council delayed acting on the citys 2014 capital-improvements budget until next week.

Will Drabold is a fellow in Ohio Universitys E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Statehouse News Bureau.