Water, sewer issues surfacing at Barnesville

BARNESVILLE-Barnesville residents again approached village council with water and sewer issues at Monday night’s meeting.

Grace Avenue resident Lisa Burkhart told members that she recently received a water bill for 29,000 gallons in usage when her normal use is less than 4,000. The village determined that there was a problem with the line and addressed it. Her complaint was that her sewer bill matched the usage even though it was obvious that the water didn’t go through the system.

Village Administrator Roger Deal and council members explained that the meter system gauges and charges for both at the same time and doesn’t allow for an issue such as hers. Department and council policy has been to support that system, but they will be reviewing it to see if adjustments can be made.

Another resident is having a problem with waste water in her yard. One area was repaired a few years ago, but there is a new issue with washing machine water pooling from an unknown source. Council members and Deal have looked into it, but will revisit the area to try to pinpoint the problem.

Deal noted that the Bethesda Street sewer issue discussed at the last meeting has now been referred to the EPA by the health department after he wrote a letter reiterating council’s position of not forcing residents outside the limits to hook into city sewers.

Residents near the intersection of Watt Avenue and High Street can expect three stop signs to calm traffic and increase safety for children playing and people walking. Council discussed the issue, and Police Chief Dave Norris agreed that the area could be dangerous. Members passed Ordinance 3616, approving three stop signs at that location.

Councilman Dale Bunting brought up another traffic issue created by large vehicles trying to make turns. The heavy trucks are disintegrating the curbs and coming closer to sidewalks and residents’ lawns, especially at the intersection of State Routes 800 and 149. Deal will contact ODOT to see if something can be done before their paving project slated for next year.

Council voted to continue with the Health Plan for employee insurance next year. Though the rates have increased 20 percent, they were comparable to rates from other plans. They did not vote on adding vision insurance to the benefits package. Councilman Brad Hudson suggested that if the town were to spend more money on insurance, it would be to pay more of the health insurance costs. They will make a decision at a later meeting.

Members also tabled the decision on investments, particularly the gas and oil lease funds. “There is no one out there who can offer us something that will make a lot of money,” Village Solicitor Marlin Harper explained. “We’re not going to hire an investment counselor at this time. We should just go with the banks that offer the best rates.”

Council discussed bank security for the sizable amount of money and decided to continue consideration the matter at a later meeting.

Bunting presented a check to council in the amount of $1,250 from Dale Landfield, organizer of the recent annual 5K race on the trail. He donates proceeds from the race each year and asked that half of this year’s money be spent on the trail and half be spent for a children’s event. Council expressed their thanks for the donation.

A committee reviewing the Request for Qualifications for a sewer line feasibility study and design scored ADR Engineering of Newark the highest. They will be conducting the study for the Eastern Ohio Regional Industrial Park north of Barnesville. Deal added that a funding application for a Slope Creek water line and a water line extension to Interstate 70 along SR 800 received draft approval for a 2 percent EPA loan, but not a grant.

Chief Norris thanked Artworks of Barnesville for their donation of lettering and wraps to the new police vehicle.

A public hearing on Barnesville’s 2014 budget will be held Monday, July 8, 2013 at 11 a.m. in Council Chambers. Copies of the draft budget will be available for review, and the public can ask questions and comment at that time.

Barnesville Village Council meetings are held every other Monday at 7 p.m.

Valenti can be reached at gvalenti@timesleaderonline.com.