Bethesda Council signs contract to sell water, approves two levies for ballot

Cathryn Stanley Editor Published:

BETHESDA — It was a busy night for Bethesda Village Council members. At the Thursday, Jan. 24 meeting, members signed a contract with LBG Water Services LLC to sell water from the village reservoir to be sold to local fracking companies, approved the placement of two levies on the May ballot and were updated on the village’s water project by Lise Sibicki of Burgess & Niple and village water department director Dick Quinlin.

Sibicki said project plans should be ready to submit to the Environmental Protection Agency by the end of February. She said she would also apply to have the project re-nominated with the EPA as a back up just in case. She said that she, Quinlin, and council member Dirk Davis have been working on easements for property outside the village limits for the water project.

Fiscal Officer Ricky Burkhead said the last time that he and Quinlin spoke with Pam Ewing from RCAP, she wondered why the paving part of the project was not included in the grant applications. Burkhead said Ewing informed them she believed the paving could have been funded by the same grant/loan as the rest of the project. Sibicki said she would contact Ewing and then report back to council with a definitive answer.

Quinlin thanked Davis and councilman Dave Wines for helping obtain the easements.

He said he will be speaking face to face with residents from whom they need easements.

Quinlin said the village purchased a line locator, however, the person who delivered it did not train the employees on the use of it. Dick requested that payment on the locator be held until training was provided.

Davis asked Sibicki what the cost difference would be for installing meter pits at the curb box instead of at homes. Davis said the curb meters would make the customer liable for the service line and would help track leakages. Sibicki estimated the cost would be at least $1,000 per box. She said meter pits are only budgeted in the project for new meters outside the village.

Quinlin requested a meeting with the water committee to revise meter box regulations, as well as other matters.

Quinlin said he re-submitted the paving project for an Ohio Public Works Commission small governments grant, but did not think it would be fruitful at this time.

He said that research into past paving projects revealed that the village has been doing less and less paving over the years.

Jim Harber from LBG Land Services LLC of New Philadelphia, Ohio presented council with a one-year contract for the village to sell water from the reservoir at a price of $5 per one thousand gallons.

The contract states that there is a one-year minimum of 10,000,000 gallons to be purchased and a $500 per month fee to be paid to Bethesda for each month LBG does not purchase water after the staging area pumping station is set up.

Council and mayor Marty Lucas had various suggestions and questions. They agreed on the following changes to the contract: LBG will repair or replace roads that have been torn up by the water transport trucks; LBG will install their staging area for pumping by March 1st 2013, and LBG will pay for the staging area dirt work to be completed.

Davis suggested a local person to dig the dirt for the staging area. Davis said that person was already providing that service for water service companies.

Mayor Lucas asked Harber to look at the staging area (below the reservoir) with the street committee to discuss options for the best ingress and egress of the staging area.

“I need you guys to tell me what will work and I will work around that,” Harber said.

“This is your community. I want to buy water and you want to sell water. I want to respect your community and cause as little headaches as possible.”

He said the staging area will contain four frack tanks (40 feet long by 8 feet wide) side by side. Each tank holds 25,000 gallons of water.

He estimated that 10 to 30 trucks would come in and out of the area each day, Monday through Saturday. He said they operated two, eight hours shifts per day.

Harber also said that the company will be looking to hire two full-time and one part-time person and that they ‘like to hire within the community.”

Fiscal Officer Burkhead presented council with Resolution 610 to put a replacement 1.5 mil Street Levy on the May 7th, 2013 ballot. Burkhead said the levy is a continuing levy, but due to a change in the purpose (building and maintaining the streets) it is being listed as a replacement levy.

Council approved the placement of that levy and a police levy on the May 7 ballot.

Burkhead said the police levy will help with the funding of the police department for equipment and salaries and decrease the department’s impact upon the general fund.

He suggested that council begin talking with residents to promote the levy.

Council discussed options to help increase monies for the general fund, while cutting costs.

At the suggestion of councilman Brian Bee, council agreed to sign up with an electric aggregate, Aspen Energy, offering a savings of approximately 35% off the cost of the village’s electric bill.

The personnel committee presented an application from Michael Fink to be a part time auxiliary (volunteer) police officer. Village Administrator and Police Chief, Jeremy Campbell recommended that Fink meet with the personnel committee and the mayor before the position is approved.

Council member Carol Merritt asked if any progress has been made with the dilapidated buildings and houses in the village.

Mayor Lucas said no progress had been made and that he felt the existing ordinance needs to be revamped and re-enforced.

Bethesda Village Council will meet Thursday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. at the village building.

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