Water service, trash hauler issues take council into year’s end
MOUNT VERNON — A much-amended ordinance creating a stormwater utility was finally passed by Mount Vernon City Council Tuesday.
The legislation was approved in a unanimous vote by council after a brief update by Utilities Committee Chair Sam Barone on some final changes. The changes included a few last minute additions that came out of a meeting between Councilmember Nancy Vail and City Engineer Brian Ball a few hours prior to the vote and a letter from stormwater utility advisory committee member Bruce Malek.
Under the ordinance, residential property owners will be billed $4 per month per physical address. Adjustments will be available to commercial property owners, whose rates will be determined by a formula.
The first bill for the utility will go out in July or August of next year, City Auditor Terry Scott said.
The utility fee will go toward maintenance and repair of stormwater infrastructure.
In other business, council held an in-depth discussion with Ball on whether the city should extend water service to customers in the areas of Sixth and Seventh streets and Harcourt Road. The customers are outside the city, and are serviced by wells. They are part of a sewer district in Clinton Township.
Council heard previously from Clinton Township Sewer District Chair John Holland, who said that people in the area either can’t afford city water or don’t want it.
The discussion stems from the city proposing an engineer look into the feasibility of running a water line on a loop from Ariel-Foundation Park to Harcourt Road. The engineering work would be additional to getting a water main to serve the Schnormeier Event Center, which is required to have a water sprinkler fire suppression system.
Councilmember Mike Hillier said Ball had proposed the engineering at first only for the Schnormeier project, “then it got real big…we’re trying to run water to everyone else.” Hillier asked that the proposal, which was up for final reading as a resolution Tuesday, be stopped and brought back fresh so it could be further discussed. By vote of council, the resolution was killed and will be brought back and a new resolution placed before council Dec. 9.
Hillier said the Clinton sewer district customers already pay an $18 monthly fee for sewer, and adding in city water would bring their bill up to about $58. He said 29 homes would be affected.
Ball said he would abandon the idea to go into Clinton Township if “60 – 70 percent” of residents were not interested, after Barone gave him that figure in a question about what it would take to drop the idea.
While discussing the water lines, Ball said the city will present a credit system to council that allows for credit to be built toward tapping into city lines. Currently, if the city brings water to an area, affected property owners must pay a monthly availability fee even if they choose not to tap in. That money goes to the city to maintain water infrastructure.
However, Ball said the city will forward to council next year a credit plan that has been offered to residents of Dixie Drive. Dixie Drive is having new water lines installed, and everyone who does not tap in within a year will have to pay the availability fee. However, instead of the residents seeing no return on their payments, the city will credit the payments toward the resident’s tap fees, should they choose to hook in later. It would take about 12 and a half years of paying the fees to cover the tap-in cost, which is about $4,000, Ball said.
Amendments to the city’s waste hauler ordinance won’t be ready for the start of the permitting process for trash haulers, which starts Nov. 18. Council held a second reading on the ordinance, which has been amended to require trash haulers to provide recycling as part of their standard package and collect recyclables at least every two weeks. The ordinance amendments further include a requirement that haulers accept bulk items, such as furniture or appliances, and allows them to charge extra for collection of the items.
Mount Vernon resident Dennis Swingle spoke on the proposed US 36/ Ohio 229 connector route that would cut across privately owned fields which the owner has said they do not want a road on. Swingle said such a route, or overpass, has been studied at least five times since 1979. Swingle asked council if the city is ready to take the land by imminent domain.
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