By DAVID GREEN
Fayette’s water and sewer service is expected to stay out of the red next year after council members approved a rate increase last week.
A six percent increase in water rates coupled with a 27 percent increase in sewer rates was approved unanimously Thursday, with Mike Maginn and Craig Rower absent from the meeting.
Village administrator Amy Metz has pushed in the past for a rate increase to keep the funds from losing money, but an effort in June was voted down.
A past proposal would have brought in enough cash to bring the funds into the black, as well as put money into the maintenance fund. The measure passed last week will allow the funds to break even, Metz said, but not contribute to maintenance, replacement and emergencies.
Dr. Thomas Brown, a guest from the Northwest Ohio Mayors and Managers Association, spoke to council members about the tough decisions needed to keep municipal services operating.
When he was mayor of Port Clinton, Brown said the decision was made to double water and sewer rates to stop sewer overflows and to add a four percent increase in the maintenance fund.
Brown said he has many state and federal contacts from his days of serving as an aide to Sen. Paul Gillmor and he will continue to help Fayette obtain federal funds for its sewer work.
CAR WASH—Council voted 5-0 to terminate a 10 percent water discount for Eagle Car Wash.
Mark Pilbeam, co-owner of the car wash, asked council to continue the discount, noting that he uses about 10,000 gallons of water a month and is often forced to leave water running in the cold weather to prevent freezing. He told council that the discounted water rates provide more income for the village than if the business discontinues operation.
Council member Jerry Gonzales said he didn’t think a small community could continue to subsidize the car wash. Councilor Paul Shaffer said he considered the discount as start-up help when the business opened, but not a permanent rate.
Council president Ruth Marlatt said she appreciates the business being in town and she would pay an extra dollar for a wash, if necessary.
Council decided to give Pilbeam until the end of March 2010 to erect a fence at the back of the car wash, as stated in village zoning law when a commercial business abuts a residence. The renter in the house behind the car wash has requested the erection of a fence.
“I just want to be sure you understand,” Metz told council. “We’ve already given him time. We gave him all summer.”
ZONING—Council approved a change in zoning from commercial to residential at the corner of S. Cherry and Main Street. No one attended a hearing on the issue.
Jacob Barnes was appointed to fill a vacancy on the zoning board.
OEPA—Village utilities director Bob Seigneur is composing a letter to send to the Ohio EPA proposing a major change to the village’s long term control plan. The plan is designed to eliminate illegal overflows of sewage into streams.
The new plan would eliminate Phase I because it is completed; eliminate Phase II, construction of a new sewage treatment plant; and move Phase III from 2017 ahead to 2010. Phase III addresses the remaining combined sewer overflow issues and calls for the separation of storm water from septic sewage lines. This will prevent a heavy precipitation event from flushing sewage into streams.
LEAVES—Metz requests that residents not blow or place leaves onto the street where they will often clog storm drains, sewer lines and lift stations.
Due to the concern about the build up of leaves in the sewer, village workers will begin collecting leaves Monday.