UTICA — Village Council acted Monday to fill a vacant seat on the council and took the first steps toward enacting an increase in water and wastewater rates.
Appointed to the empty seat was Mark Jenkins, a self-employed businessman who was born and raised in Utica, said Mayor Lester Grennell. Jenkins refurbishes, repairs and sells guns.
His term on council will run through December 2019.
Village Administrator Glenn Richards said that, until recently, he had not planned to recommend water and wastewater increases in the coming year, but they recently incurred a $21,000 bill when a pump had to be replaced and he expects another $54,000 in expenses next year. Those expenses will include replacement of a bent rotator arm at the wastewater plant and the hiring of a Class I operator needed to meet Ohio EPA staffing standards. He described the increases as “minimal.”
He said they looked into hiring a part-time operator for the wastewater plant, but that will not likely be possible, so they will look for a full-time person who will work at both the water and wastewater plants. The standard rates for a person with a Class I license is between $14 and $15 per hour. He hopes to have a person hired to begin work by the start of the year.
Grennell and Richards said the increase needs to be in place by the end of December.
Richards said the water increase will amount to 15 cents per 100 cubic feet and the wastewater increase will be 25 cents per 100 cubic feet (based on water usage). The minimum charge will increase from $19.80 to $21 for up to 200 cubic feet.
Council heard second readings on three measures introduced last month:
•A resolution authorizing the fiscal officer to advertise for bids for village liability insurance.
•A resolution authorizing the mayor to enter a contract with the Licking County Board of Commissioners for reimbursement of legal counsel for indigent defendants for the village of Utica, Licking County.
•An ordinance establishing pay rates for village employees (3 percent increase).
•A resolution authorizing the village administrator to enter a contract with the Licking County Planning Commission for administration of flood damage prevention regulations for the village of Utica.
Police Chief Cameron Daily reported that the department had received an $8,900 grant which will enable the purchase of bulletproof vests for all officers, including police K-9 Blaze.
Richards reported that volunteers from Park National Bank, Utica Church of Christ, the Parks and Recreation Commission and village employees recently installed the new $11,400 multi-play station playground equipment at the village park and it is in use.