Fayette village council 6.17.09

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

It took a vote by acting mayor Craig Rower to break a tie Thursday night at the Fayette council meeting.

Rower cast a “no” vote against a proposed nine percent increase in the village water and sewer fees and so, for now, the utility will continue to operate in the red.

Following a lengthy discussion of the issue, Jerry Gonzales, Paul Shaffer and Mike Maginn voted against the increase. Julia Ruger, Ruth Marlatt and Ken Delphous supported the rate hike.

The village utility fund first went into the red in 2008 and money had to be taken from the enhancement fund—designated for maintenance and replacement costs.

The nine percent increase proposed for this year only would have provided a temporary fix by keeping the utility out of the red through 2010. Without any subsequent increase, projections show the cash reserves in the enhancement fund also running out of money by 2013, assuming an annual three percent increase for inflation.

At the June 8 Finance Committee meeting, Gonzales suggested a three percent increase for 2009—a move that would cover costs for the current year—but that option was not mentioned Thursday.

Fayette resident Denise Jensen said a survey she and her husband, Joe, undertook shows strong opposition to any increase.

Jensen said she asked 50 residents to give a “yes” or “no” vote on the statement, “I agree with the Fayette village council to raise my water and sewer rates by nine percent.” Only one person voted “yes.”

“They feel the water rates are already too high,” Jensen said. “They’re just trying to make ends meet. They don’t need a rate increase, they don’t need higher taxes.”

She said many people were unaware of the proposed increase because they don’t read the newspaper.

Village administrator Amy Metz presented councilors with a list of water rates from area communities compiled by the Village of Swanton. The average cost for 6,000 gallons of water is $67.01. Fayette appears in the middle of the list and a little below average at $65.72.

Councilor Mike Maginn suggested that the cost of water is high because the Ohio EPA forces the village to clean it.

Utilities supervisor Bob Seigneur mentioned that softening also adds to the cost.

The actual softening process isn’t so expensive, Metz said, but the softening unit costs in excess of $100,000. She mentioned the cost of repairing numerous breaks in the water lines, with some pipes dating back to 1907. Most everything under the ground is old and needs to be replaced, she said.

Metz asked the guests if they had any suggestions since other cuts in spending have already been made.

Joe Jensen asked if elected officials had been contacted—Gonzales said they had—and he later suggested a village sales tax of one percent. This would spread the cost around, he said, by bringing in extra money from people who shopped while passing through town.

Maginn didn’t think a sales tax would be good for local businesses who are already competing against out-of-town “big box” stores.

Gonzales said the water and sewer fund needs to pay for itself.

“I agree with you that people can’t afford it, but we need to break even,” he said. “I don’t think it’s time to ask for a surplus, but it’s got to break even.”

Audience member Rodney Kessler said  he agrees that times are tough, but he believes it’s in the best interest of the community to pass the measure.

Delphous moved to increase the fees, but the proposal failed.

GRANTS—Metz told council the village failed to receive CDBG funds for the West Industrial Parkway Project and for street repairs. She will inquire about why funding was not awarded.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • 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.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016