Mayor: Buckeye Lake must invest in wellfield
BUCKEYE LAKE- The Village of Buckeye Lake must invest up to $25,000 in its well field before it can accurately determine the best source for a public water system - Millersport, Hebron, or a village-operated system - said Buckeye Lake Mayor Frank Foster Monday night.
If the village buys bulk water from Millersport or Hebron, the village must complete a Capability Assurance Plan before it can receive funding from the Ohio Water Development Authority for a distribution system. If Buckeye Lake creates a village operated system with its own water treatment plant, it must also re-test its wellfield,including cleaning, inspecting, and test pumping it, to meet the demands of the Capability Assurance Plan. Retesting the well field would cost an additional $25,000 if all three steps are necessary. The village may be able to avoid the cleaning, he said.
Ohio EPA Environmental Supervisor Stacy Barna confirmedthat the village would NOT be required to re-test the wellfieldif it buys bulk water from Millersport or Hebron.
Foster said he believes the re-test expense is warranted because the village will then have the information it needs to make a fair comparison between buying bulk water from Millersport or Hebron, or creating a village operated system. "Our engineers (ME Companies) continue to tell us that our own system is the cheapest (to operate)," he said. But, he said an offer from Millersport is reasonable and deserves further consideration.
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 terms proposed 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 Millersport is in the process of phasing in a new 10" water line that would more than adequately meet Buckeye Lake's needs now and into the future. He added that the village would also need to run a water line to meet the Millersport water line near the intersection of Ohio 360 and Lakeside Drive.
"That's a sizable expense not mentioned in the letter," he said.
Foster estimated that the village will have enough information to make a decision within two to three months. A special council meeting was scheduled to discuss the water situation at 4 p.m. on Sept. 26.
In other village council news:
• Foster announced he purchased a 50' x 100' parcel of land directly across from the Buckeye Lake Library at a county auditor's auction. He paid $2,300 of his own money for the property, which he offered to deed to the village. He said if the village is willing to reimburse him for the purchase price, he's very willing for the village to have it, possibly to use as parking space for the library. If not, he'll keep the property for his own use. The deal was simply too good to pass up, he said.
• Council member Drew Bourne said the village should work on a police levy. "They deserve a raise," he said, but the village can't afford raises now. Foster said he would have to cut a staff member or cut some officers'hours to give raises. Any downsizing of the police department would mean there would be less than 24 hour police coverage in the village.
Resident Charlotte Basnett said the police "could do a little more community service" because better visibility would help to pass a levy.
• "If it ain't broke, don't fixit," said members of the Buckeye Lake Fire Department. Village government officials suggested having the City of Newark review its commercial building code approvals as well as its residential building codes. Currently, Newark reviews the building codes for one, two, and three family structures, and the State of Ohio reviews building codes for commercial buildings and residential structures with four or more families. Several firedepartment members wanted to maintain the village's relationship with the state building code officebecause it has always provided reliable assistance.
"I personally don't like to fixthings that ain't broken," said Buckeye Lake Fire Chief Pete Leindecker, adding that he didn't want his department to "lose its say in the process" by changing to another building code office.
Village officials argued that Newark is also reliable and having one officetake care of all the building codes is easier for developers. For example, the Landings at Maple Bay development, which is currently under construction, and its neighboring development called the Residences at Maple Bay, slated for future construction, have single family homes and four family condos--which fall under commercial guidelines- -between them. Currently, the developers would need to work with both Newark and the state for building code approval.
After reaching a stalemate, both sides agreed to do more research and discuss the issue again at a future meeting.
• Parks and Recreation Commission member Chuck Jackson told council that the commission is working to findways to create a passive nature trail in the village's 20-acre wellfield.He wants to see the entire well field become a passive wetlands park at no expense to the residents. Jackson said the well field is full of wildlife and perfect for a park. "There's lots of activity," he said. Jackson was clear, though, that the village's plans to create a park on Mill Dam Road would take priority. He said eventually he'd like for the village to have three parks-- the existing Ryan Park, a park at Mill Dam Road, and the wetlands park. Jackson estimated it would take at least a year or two to fund and build a wetlands park.
• Council member Donna Thompson said the village is looking for donations for 100- bulb strings of holiday lights or money to help the village purchase them. Donations may be delivered to the Buckeye Lake Fire Department. She said the village will also place donation jars at several village businesses. Thompson was appointed as chair of the personnel committee.
• Director of Development Valerie Hans said the village hopes to boost enrollment in free GED classes, which are sponsored by CTEC of Licking County and held at Buckeye Lake. For more information, call Holly Pletcher at (740) 364-2263, and information flyers are available at the Village Offices.