By Scott Rawdon
BUCKEYE LAKE- Buckeye Lake Village Council extended its deadline Monday night for a counteroffer from the Village of Hebron.
In the village's on-going quest for a public water system, village officials presented an offer from the Village of Millersport to Hebron to see if it could offer Buckeye Lake a better deal. During an Oct. 26 special council meeting, council members said they would give Hebron until the next council meeting, Nov. 12, to respond to Millersport's offer, but Monday night Mayor Frank Foster said realistically the deadline was too brief. Council then extended the deadline for a counteroff to Nov. 26.
To review, council is weighing three options for public water-- buying bulk water from neighboring Millersport or Hebron, or creating a village operated system. Millersport has aggressively made offers to Buckeye Lake while Hebron has remained relatively silent. Information from ME Companies - the engineering firmdesigning a water
system for Buckeye Lake - shows that a village operated system could be more
economical, but some council members are questioning how accurately a village
operated treatment plant's affordability can be predicted until it's known for
certain how many village residents will tie onto a Buckeye Lake public water
system. There are many other cost factors to consider as well.
Foster said Monday night that he would continue to negotiate with Mike Carder, president of GGC Engineering - the company serving as the Village of Millersport's engineers - while Hebron officials mull the offer.
"There's obviously going to be more discussion (with Millersport)," said Foster.
In other council news:
The village received $201,000 from the U. S. Army Corps
of Engineers that's been promised to the village since last year. The money was
originally earmarked to the village for use toward a public water system by
former congressman Bob Ney. The funds are administered by the Corps of Engineers
and were rerouted toward another project when it looked like the Village of
Buckeye Lake wasn't going to need the money before the end of 2006. Replacement
funds weren't readily available in the Corps budget, so the village has been
waiting for payment for months.
Foster said Monday night that the federal grant will pay
off an old loan owed to the Ohio Water Development Authority for previous water studies and it will pay the balance of what the village owes to M
E Companies. Foster said he expects some money will be
left over after all the old debts are paid.
Members of council thanked village residents for
approving a five-mill replacement levy for fire/EMS services and finally
approving three amendments to the Buckeye Lake Village Charter. The charter
*Increasing the membership of the Buckeye Lake Planning Commission from four to seven members.
*Increasing the membership of the Buckeye Lake Park and Recreation Commission from four to seven members.
*A provision to allow Commission members to be compensated sometime in the future - currently, they are not compensated. Annetta Macedonia, chair of the Buckeye Lake Charter Review Commission, told council during a previous meeting that commission members would not be compensated immediately. Macedonia said that amendment only leaves the option open should the village ever expand and have the ability within its budget to pay its commission members.
Foster said Monday night that the village will accept applications for the new planning and recreation commission positions until Dec. 7.
The village will re-bid its residential trash
collection contract as recommended by the village law director. The village
received bids from Waste Management, Rumpke, and Big O Refuse. Waste
Management's bid was the only to offer an alternate bid. The other companies
weren't aware they could present an alternate bid. "None of the bidders did
anything wrong," stressed Director of Development Valerie Hans. But, she said,
to be fair to all the bidders, the law director recommended a re-bid. Those bids
will be opened November 26.
Council member Hilde Hildebrandt said $33,000 from the
general fund must be transferred to the police fund to cover the department's
expenses. She suggested the village place a five-mill police levy on the March
ballot to fund the department. The deadline to place an issue on the March
ballot is December 20. The levy would replace the department's current
three-mills police levy. Hildebrandt said the levy and the police department's
expenses would be discussed during the finance committee's meeting the following
Council member Donna Thompson said people would seriously miss the village police department if the department weren't there. She said the village may have an easier time passing levies once council secures public water for the village.
Council President Charlene Hayden thanked those council
members who supported her taking over the council position vacated when former
council member John Cortez was dismissed from council for too many absences in
August. Cortez still had two years on his term. Hayden had the least number of
votes in the Nov. 6 election when fivecandidates, all incumbents, were vying for
four council positions. Technically, Hayden did not win another four year term
and was voted off council, but she will remain on council for two more years as
she completes Cortez' term.
To those who supported her taking over Cortez' position, she said, "Your support shows that you were putting the village first."
Thompson said that plenty of holiday lights were
donated to the village to decorate village trees, and she added someone
volunteered to decorate village fences. "We are all trying to make things look
better," she said.
Thompson told Foster that a building he owns and is renovating the former "Tavern" on Walnut Road--is messy. "It looks as bad as the shacks around Buckeye Lake," she said.
Foster thanked her for her opinion, but had no further