2007-09-15 / News

Buckeye Lake Council plays musical chairs

By Scott Rawdon

BUCKEYE LAKE- After many seat changes, the Buckeye Lake Village Council looks basically the same as it did, but with one new member.

Council President Charlene Hayden gave up her current council seat and took over the council seat vacated by former council member John Cortez, who missed eight meetings this year; according to the village charter, council members may only miss seven meetings per year. Hayden's original term is up this year and she's running for another four year term. However, Cortez' council term still had two years to go, so now Hayden is guaranteed two more years on council even if she loses in the November election. If she wins in November, she'll have another four year term, and Cortez' former seat will be open again. Council unanimously re-appointed Hayden as council president.

Of course, the changes left Hayden's former seat open. Council unanimously appointed resident Donna Thompson to fillHayden's former position through the rest of the year. Thompson is also running for a four year council term in November.

Council member Shelly Swick (formerly Shelly Schwarz) said she respected Hayden's work as a council member, but said she received at least two calls from members of other village councils who didn't approve of Hayden shufflingcouncil seats. The members of the other councils said they didn't believe it was morally right, said Swick.

Council member Jeryne Peterson said she received similar calls. Peterson was the only council member to vote against appointing Hayden to the remainder of Cortez' term.

At the end of Monday night's meeting, Hayden read a statement, personally thanking the majority of council for supporting her decision to take over Cortez' term and all of council for re-appointing her as council president.

Licking County Board of Elections Director Jay Morrow said there's nothing legally preventing Hayden from seeking another four year term this November, even though her current seat lasts two more years. "That happens more often than we think," he said.

In other council news:

• Mayor Frank Foster said a written offer from a Millersport engineer to provide Buckeye Lake Village with public water "certainly has the potential to be exactly what we're looking for." He was clear that no agreement has been reached with Millersport at this time.

To review, Foster received an Aug. 22 letter from Michael Carder, president of GGC Engineering the company serving as the Village of Millersport's engineers -- outlining potential conditions set by the Millersport Board of Public Affairs for the sale of bulk water to the Village of Buckeye Lake. The letter said:

1.) Millersport would construct a 10" potable (drinkable) water line to the outskirts of the Buckeye Lake corporation limit. The line extension has been designed and could be offered for bidding immediately after a signed agreement is received by Millersport. We should estimate the line would take approximately four months to construct.

2.) The only capacity limitation would be the water volume that would be able to be conveyed by the 10" line or by the existing wells.

3.) The bulk water rate would be in the neighborhood of $3 per 1,000 gallons (other village charges would apply).

4.) A water meter would be installed near the Buckeye Lake connection point and read monthly. Buckeye Lake would receive one bill per month. That invoice would be due and payable within 13 days. Millersport would not read individual water meters in Buckeye Lake.

5.) A line charge, or service connection fee, of approximately $300,000 would be charged at the time of connection to the Buckeye Lake distribution system.

Foster said Monday night that Carder is currently collecting information from the Millersport Board of Public Affairs following an administrative meeting between Carder, Buckeye Lake Village officials, and others Aug. 29.

Council member Drew Bourne called a public safety committee meeting to discuss details of the offer Tuesday, 6 p.m. Foster said the entire council should hold a special meeting soon to discuss the offer as well.

Foster said no recent progress has been made in discussions with Hebron, which also offered to supply Buckeye Lake Village with water.

• In a related issue, Foster said in order for the village to complete a Capability Assurance Plan - a plan that helps determine the village's ability to construct a village-operated water treatment facility, as is the current plan - the village's wellfieldwells must be redeveloped. ME Companies, an engineering firm designing a water system for the village, is getting an estimate from several contractors to do this work. Foster hopes there will be more information about this at the next council meeting.

Kevin Wood, ME Companies vice president, may have a report ready soon about the status of public water in Buckeye Lake Village.

• Council member Jim Bartoe said he's contacted local media about publishing a regular column from the mayor's desk, discussing various village related topics. He said The Shopper Reporter turned down his request, but The Beacon agreed to publish a guest column every other week. It's up to the council to decide whether to move forward.

• Bartoe said village police officers passed basic firearm training and some qualified on semi-automatic weapons. He said the police discussed doing some community oriented programs, like assigning ID numbers to bicycles in case of theft, bicycle safety programs, filing children's finger prints, or inspecting children's car seats.

• Thompson, before being appointed to council later in Monday's meeting, asked council if people are willing to donate money toward holiday lights for the village. Foster said by law council members can't be in charge of accepting donations for such programs, but private citizens are able to do so, if anyone's interested in volunteering.

• The village will contract with the City of Newark to do building inspections. Foster said that in order for the village to have Newark complete commercial building inspections, the village must establish a building department even though the department will exist only on paper. There will be no physical Buckeye Lake Building Department office.

• Buckeye Lake Halloween Trick or Treat will take place Wednesday, Oct. 31, 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Council's next regular meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 24 at the village office.

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