By: Jesse Davis
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
An approximate doubling of the current water/sewer rates for the Village of Delta was approved on first reading during a council meeting Monday evening.
Delta Village Administrator Andy Glenn presented the proposal to the council in the face of costs for the two utilities outstripping their funds.
“We don’t bring enough money into either of those funds to even cover the operational costs of those plants today, so they’re both going to have to be supplemented out of the general fund this year,” he said.
Glenn cited the increased cost of chemicals, a “desperate need” for upgrades and expansion to the water plant, replacement of a water tower, repairs to the reservoirs required by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, repairs and upgrades to village infrastructure being required by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and upgrades and expansion to the sewer plant to meet current OEPA requirements among the many needs driving increased costs.
The total estimate of all costs involved is somewhere between $10 million and $15 million, with roughly two thirds on the water side.
Under the new proposal, the water rate (currently $3.93/100 cubic feet plus a $31 base fee) would increase to $9 for customers in village limits and $15 for those in the county.
The sewer rate (currently $4.24/100 cubic feet plus a $13.48 base fee) would increase to $8.50 and $12.75 for village and county residents, respectively. The base fee for both services would remain unchanged.
Glenn said the plan is more equitable and less expensive for average residential users than a previous plan, in which costs were divided among users equally by tap. The new plan bases users’ cost on their use.
According to Glenn, an average user of roughly 400 cubic feet or 3,000 gallons of water would have paid $174.70 under the former proposal just for their water service but would only pay $67 as a city resident under the new plan, $91 in the county.
EASEMENT FOR POWER LINES
An easement for Toledo Edison electrical line towers near the reservoirs may be headed for scuttling after Glenn shared negative recommendations and a series of concerns.
According to Glenn, the easement includes a portion of the northern bank and toe drain system for the reservoir. He eventually asked the ODNR for their input.
“They strongly recommended against entering into any easement agreement that would include the banks or the toe drains within there,” Glenn said.
“They said you don’t want any heavy equipment around that. If those toe drains get damaged it could lead to catastrophic failure of those banks and the upper reservoir.”
He said he saw two options – reword the agreement to ensure no one went anywhere near the toe drain systems or banks with any kind of equipment – or not do it at all.
Glenn raised another concern regarding the height of the proposed towers.
“They have a 150-foot-wide … easement, total. I think that’s because they are 75-foot towers, so that would put that portion of the bank … within the fall zone of those towers,” Glenn said.
He added that the agreement included wording of some sort indicating they would bear any repair costs if they were to damage anything, “which is good if it’s not a catastrophic failure.” In exchange for the easement, the village would receive $39,790.
Council members chose to follow Glenn’s recommendation and pursue an altered agreement offering a smaller easement with tighter boundaries and restrictions.
They also requested an ordinance rescinding the agreement entirely be prepared for their next meeting in case no suitable compromise can be reached.
Council members indicated their desire to look into additional signage or lighting of some kind for the area around the pedestrian crossing on Main Street after a person was struck by a vehicle.
Glenn reported the driver was turning onto Main Street from Wood Street but didn’t see the lights indicating a person was in the crosswalk.
Mayor Frank Wilton swore in new Delta Police Department Officer Daniel Silette.
The council ended regular business by going into an executive session.
Jesse can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org