Garrettsville – The main topic of discussion after the opening of the March 12, 2014 Garrettsville village council meeting was water rates and how much of an increase there will be if council approves proposed Ordinance 2014-13. The Board of Public Affairs (BPA) had asked a representative from Arcadis in February 2013 about a rate study for the village water utility that could be used to plan and budget future water projects and to assure current rates were adequate. (Arcadis is company that specializes in infrastructure and water planning & design which has consulted on infrastructure projects like the State Street water main replacement project last year and the coming Liberty Street bridge replacement project.)
Said AbouAbdallah, a consulting engineer from Arcadis, met with members of the BPA in October 2013 to share his findings. He reviewed revenue and expenditures for the past few years, which included income from current rates, daily expenses, loan payments and repair and updates to infrastructure. He then used those figures to forecast revenue and expenditures for the next five years. It was determined that leaving water rates at the current fee structure would allow projected expenses to exceed projected revenues well before the end of the five year projected term.
Village council and BPA members met with Said in February 2014 for a work session to discuss all available options and how they impact the residents and community. Proposed Ordinance 2014-13 is a result of that meeting. The proposed ordinance, if passed, would increase water rates 7% on July 1, 2014, another 7% on January 1, 2015 and another 7% on January 1, 2016. The ordinance then allows for a 2% annual increase beginning January 2017. These increases are for water rates only and will not affect sewer rates.
BPA President Stephanie Byrne and Superintendent Jeff Sheehan pointed out that current cash reserves may not be enough if a large water main break were to occur, which is not out of the realm of possibility on 100+ year old pipes awaiting replacement. The second reading of the proposed ordinance will be next month.
Council approved a motion by Councilman Klamer regarding 2014 sidewalk replacement/repair plan. The village and the property owner will share the $12/linear foot replacement cost. The following street sections are scheduled for 2014: East Center Street to Main Street, North side of Windham Street, State Street to Forrest Street, South Street from Main Street to White Street, and Freedom Street bridge to South Street. Councilman Klamer restated that all the repairs can be done “in house” using current village employees and hiring temporary summer workers.
The mayor reported on the status of the gristmill at the end of Main Street. The property owner was ordered over a year ago to have the condemned buildings torn down. He was supposed to have the work completed by December 2013, but failed to do so. According to Mayor Patrick, the owner asked for an extension on the demolition deadline citing a potential buyer. The county prosecutor and county building department have given the property owner until the end of March to have the demolition completed or a buyers agreement showing the plans for the property.
The mayor also gave an update on the proposed Pizza Hut. He stated that there were a few issues with parking and drainage on the property for the proposed building. Final decisions should be made by the end of March. The mayor also said that there is a preconstruction meeting in April on the State Route 82 repaving project so he will find out start/end dates then.
In other business, council approved Ordinance 2014-09 (the 2014 village budget) Resolution 2014-12 authorizing the mayor and clerk to enter into an agreement authorizing Arcadis to provide design & bidding services for phase one of the North Street Water Main Replacement Project and Resolution 2014-11 which strongly opposes the passage of Ohio HB5 which proposes uniformity measures by the state in collection of municipal income taxes.
If you’d like to know more of what is happening in your community attend a meeting. The next regular Village Council meeting is scheduled for April 9, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. at Village Hall.