Buckeye Lake to get new residential trash service
BUCKEYE LAKE - Who says a dollar's not worth much these days? It was actually $1.05 that lost Waste Management a trash collection contract renewal with the Village of Buckeye Lake. Newark's Big-O Refuse underbid Waste Management by $1.05 per house to win a four-year contract with the village, beginning Jan. 1, 2008. Residents will pay $13.45 per month for trash service, and seniors will pay $12.20 per month. But, not everyone on the Buckeye Lake Village Council was happy with the decision, even though Big-O's bid was lower.
Council members Jeryne Peterson and Shelly Small (formerly Shelly Swick) voted against awarding the contract to Big-O. Peterson said Waste Management is "ecologically conscious" and did a good job servicing the village. Small said trash falls from the back of the Big-O trucks.
Council member Hilde Hildebrandt said Waste Management trucks were tearing up her street. The remaining council members agreed Waste Management did a good job, but the Big-O contract would save the village money. Also, Big-O offers recycling services for $4 per month per household. Council clerk Tim Matheny said Big-O will eventually offer recycling services for free at the village offices,but it won't happen immediately.
Before the vote, Waste Management representative Susan Lint tried to convince council to stay with her company. She said it's the lowest and best bid that wins, not just the lowest. "I believe Waste Management is well worth the value," she said.
"We were the lowest bid," said Big-O representative John Peckskamp. "We are local; this is our own market." He said after the meeting that Big-O is preparing a letter to Buckeye Lake residents that will outline the transition to the new trash service.
Big-O has served Hebron for several years and is the lowest bid for a new three-year contract starting Jan. 1.
In other council news:
• Mayor Frank Foster assured council members that progress on a village public water system is happening as quickly as possible. Some council members and members of the public attending Monday night's meeting said they felt like the process is dragging.
To review, council is weighing three options for public water- buying bulk water from neighboring Millersport or Hebron, or creating a village operated system.
Previously, 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 Foster said the deadline was too short. Council then extended the deadline for a counteroffer to Nov. 26.
Monday night, Foster said Hebron Village Administrator Mike McFarland responded with a letter saying that currently, according to a Hebron ordinance, water customers outside of the village pay 1.5 to two times the current village rate of $3.55 per 1,000 gallons of water, meaning that as the ordinance reads today, Village of Buckeye Lake customers would pay somewhere from $5.33 to $7.10 per 1,000 gallons; currently Millersport is offering Buckeye Lake residents $3.15 per $1,000 gallons.
McFarland was clear in his letter that Hebron may be able to work out a better rate for Buckeye Lake, but the process could take until "the first quarter of 2008," which could be as long as March 2008. "If it is necessary that you must move forward before our deliberations are complete, that is understandable and will not impact our full cooperation in other areas," wrote McFarland.
Foster said Monday night that Mike Carder, president of GGC Engineering - the company serving as the Village of Millersport's engineers - was meeting with Millersport's Board of Public Affairs that night to discuss supplying Buckeye Lake Village with water.
"Personally, I say go with Millersport; forget all this," said council member Jim Bartoe.
Hildebrandt said negotiations with Hebron began in August. "It certainly is taking a long time," she said.
Director of Development Valerie Hans said it's a bad idea to stop negotiations with anyone until the village has a water contract signed, which it doesn't have yet.
"Council is doing what it needs to do," said Peterson.
"I'm not sure what we could possibly do differently to speed this up," said Foster.
"We can't do it any faster; we have to go through the steps," said Peterson, who reminded Bartoe that the village never succeeded in getting a public water system while he was mayor of Buckeye Lake Village.
Foster said he'll meet with Carder in December.
• The village will accept letters of interest until Friday, Dec. 28 from residents who would like to fillthree (possibly four) new positions on the planning commission and zoning appeals boards, and one position on the parks and recreation commission. The new positions were created when voters finally approved amendments to the village charter to expand the commissions. Matheny said a person serving on both the planning commission and the zoning appeals board may resign at the end of the year, creating additional vacancies. Interested residents should deliver a letter of interest to the Village Officeson or before Dec. 28.
• Council members approved entering into a lease/purchase agreement to acquire a new dump truck for the village street department - at a cost of $56,126.50 including necessary upgrades. The truck replaces the village's current 1996 dump truck, which Bourne said is rusty and not in good working condition. Matheny said the new truck's list price is $57,000 without the upgrades. The village also purchased a New Holland tractor for $23,875.85. Matheny said list price is about $34,000.
• Foster said new floodplain regulations limit the amount of filldirt that can be deposited in the property next to the firedepartment, which the village recently purchased from Maribel Neel. The new regulations may change the way the village develops the property into a parking lot, but, "There is no question that we can live within the regulations and place the desired parking lot on that site," said Foster.
Bourne said the new floodplain regulations were not discussed prior to the purchase of the property.
"Why wasn't this brought up before?" asked council member Donna Thompson.
"Instead of being critical, why not come up with a solution?" Foster responded. Thompson said she's relatively new to council and is trying to become familiar with the issues.
Hans said the matter was discussed with Licking County flood plain administrator Jim Mickey prior to purchase and "everyone's done their jobs." She said everyone else in the village would be required to comply with the new regulations and she wants to be sure the village sets a good example by making certain its projects are completely compliant. "We expect our residents to follow the same rules," she said.
Mickey was unavailable for comment.
• The village will place a 2.5- mill police levy on the March ballot. If approved, it will be collected in addition to the department's current 3-mill police levy, said Cindy Haas, of the Licking County Auditor's Office. She said the village's current 3-mill levy does not expire until tax year 2009, to be collected through 2010. It cannot be repealed until it expires, so any new levies need to be placed in addition to the current 3-mill levy; a new levy cannot replace the current 3-mill levy until 2009.
Haas said the current 3-mill levy is collecting at 2.19 mills and generating approximately $102,605. "The new levy they are putting on is a 2.5 mill levy and should generate $110,819 annually," she said. If the new 2.5-mill levy is approved, the police department would receive $213,424 annually between the new and existing levies.
Resident Rondia Sexton told council that while she's received excellent responses from the Buckeye Lake Fire Department in the past, she couldn't say the same for the police department, and urged council to be sure that any raises given to officerare merit based. "We have officerson the force who are wonderful," she said, but some officerswere rude to her and made her feel threatened. "I have a strong opinion against a couple members of the police department," said Sexton, but wasn't specific. "Overall, they do a good job," but she said some officerscould use additional training in dealing with young people and common courtesy.
Foster assured her that any raises will be merit based, and spoke to her privately after the meeting about her specific complaints.
• Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 1 and 2, 3 to 7 p.m. is the Buckeye Lake Community Christmas celebration at the Buckeye Lake State Park North Shore. Santa Claus will be there from 3 to 5 p.m., the Lakewood School Choir sings Dec. 2, 5 p.m. and the Dance Explosion is Dec. 1, 4 p.m. There will be free hot dogs and drinks, and games and candy for the children.