By DAVID GREEN
The Village of Fayette can expect an increase in health insurance costs for the next year, but not as high as other communities in its group.
Village fiscal officer Karin Sauerlander told council last week that insurance rates through the village provider, Borma (Buckeye Ohio Risk Management Association), hadn't increased in recent years despite increased costs and now cash reserves are getting low. Rates will increase to build back cash again.
"Communities with a higher loss ratio will pay more," Sauerlender said, "and Fayette has the smallest of Borma's rates."
Borma will increase rates at least 19.5 percent, but Fayette will see an increase 10 percent less than that.
Sauerlender said she will budget for a 19.5 percent increase because the situation could change quickly. In 2012 Fayette's claims were 230 percent above average and last year they were 122 percent above. The most recent increase of 66 percent—the lowest of all communities participating. With so few employees involved, Fayette's losses could go up quickly, Sauerlender said.
"It doesn't take much to change," she said. "We don't have enough employees to spread out claims over the years."
DEPOSIT—Council voted unanimously, with Scott Wagner absent, to increase the water/sewer use deposit from $90 to $150 in an effort to cover the cost of unpaid bills. The deposit will now also be required for residents who are buying property on a land contract.
Sauerlender said a minimum of $105 would be needed, but councilor Linda Smith said no one uses only the minimum.
Tim Dennis, the landlord with the most rental units in the village, wrote a letter urging council not to increase the deposit because it makes it more difficult for families to move into Fayette.
"One would think that I would be in favor of a higher deposit since I am liable for a customer's back water bills," Dennis wrote. "We think it is more important to us and to Fayette as a whole to have a more affordable deposit and therefore easier for families to move in."
He suggested that if the village uses monthly billing, large unpaid bills won't be a problem and the existing deposit would be sufficient.
PLOW—Council voted to a snowplow and accessories for $6,705.
SWINGS—A new swing set will be purchased for no more than $4,000.
MERCURY—Mercury limits established by the EPA for water flowing into Lake Erie will force communities to report mercury concentrations from sewage lagoonsbeginning next year. Fayette's first test showed a level of 12.8 parts per trillion, far over the 1.3 allowed.
Most communities will be unable to meet that level, said village administrator Steve Blue, and will have to seek a variance by proposing a monitoring program. Council approved an expenditure up to $6,000 for the village engineering firm, Arcadis, to create an application.
ROADS—Village representatives met with the township board to discuss the township proposal to turn over the township portion of two shared roads to the village. The township's proposal called for the village to handle maintenance on about 75 percent of the roads, Blue said, but the village is seeking agreement closer to a 50/50 share.
BERM—Blue told council that the Bergman company wants to "leave town with us happy" and intends to repair the berm that the company improperly installed along several village streets following the paving project.
PATCH—Council approved spending up to $4,000 to patch Allen Street and portions of Industrial Drive if the township doesn't repair the road.
LEAVES—Council approved a request from Camp Palmer to borrow the village leaf vacuum—either with or without an operator. The equipment will be loaned for $40 an hour with village employee Dean Myers operating it. The job is expected to take two days.
ANIMALS—Audience member Shari Renner asked if a permit would be needed for any animal or only for chickens, but council hasn't yet discussed changes to the animal ordinance.
Several council members said when they raised animals as youths for 4-H and FFA projects, they were raised in the country at someone's farm.
Renner asked if raising your own food on your own property is a right or a privilege.
MEETINGS—Council will meet Nov. 19 for its November meeting. The following month council will meet Dec. 17.