Fayette's sewage treatment system short of cash 5.20.09

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Paying for sewage treatment services in Fayette is headed down an unsustainable path as expenses continue to outpace revenue.

Village officials aren’t in agreement about how to address the issue, but council is hoping residents will offer some direction at the May 28 meeting.

Council voted in 1994 to charge a quarterly sewer enhancement fee to build a fund for maintenance and replacement of the sewage system. In recent years the fund has been used to pay off the long-term debt from work done so far in the combined sewer separation project and to cover the cost of unexpected repairs.

The fee brings in more than $50,000 a year, said village administrator Amy Metz, but the village continues to dip into the fund just to pay for operation of the sewage system.

Council heard the first reading Thursday of a proposal to boost sewer fees by nine percent.

“We need a public discussion about this,” said councilor Jerry Gonzales.

At a May 11 meeting of the Finance Committee, council member Paul Shaffer pointed out that council voted to renew two levies at their current levels rather than seek a replacement that would bring the levies up to current property levels.

That decision, Shaffer said, was due to an impending nine percent increase in the water and sewer fees. That increase was never put into effect.

Gonzales suggested placing the issue on the November ballot to give citizens the opportunity to decide about an increase. He believes an increase would be a burden on the public due to high unemployment.

Metz was not in favor of continuing to allow the sewage system to operate at a loss. Gonzales suggested a three percent increase, but Metz countered with nine percent—three percent for each of the last three years.

Village financial officer Lisa Zuver told committee members that council has an obligation to run the village in a fiscally responsible manner.

Metz said the nine percent change would bring an increase from $111.62 a quarter to $118.74 for a typical user.

  • Play Practice
    DRAMA—Fayette schools, in conjunction with the Opera House Theater program, will present two plays Friday night at the Fayette Opera House. From the left is Autumn Black, Wyatt Mitchell, Elizabeth Myers, Jonah Perdue, Sam Myers (in the back) and Lauren Dale. Other cast members are Brynn Balmer, Mason Maginn, Ashtyn Dominique, Stephanie Munguia and Sierra Munguia. Jason Stuckey serves as the technician and Trinity Leady is the backstage manager. The plays will be performed during the day Friday for students and for the public at 7 p.m. Friday.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
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    CLEARING THE WAY—Road crossings in the area on the construction route of the Rover natural gas pipeline are marked with poles and flags as preliminary work nears. Ditches and field entry points are covered with thick planks in many areas to support equipment for tree clearing operations. Actual pipeline construction is progressing across Ohio toward a collecting station near Defiance. That segment of the project is expected to wrap up in July. The 42-inch line through Michigan and into Ontario is scheduled for completion in November. The line is projected to transport 3.25 billion cubic feet of natural gas every day.
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
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  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Face Paint
    FUN NIGHT FUN—Savanna Miles sits patiently while Abbie White works on a face paint design Friday during the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Gracie Snead watches the progress after having spent time in the chair. Abbie was one of several volunteer painters, each creating their own unique look. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.

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