2013-02-09 / Editorials & Letters

Is Baltimore losing water customers?


Are The Dominos Ready To Fall ?

In my last “Letter to the Editor”, I spoke about the Village of Bremen and how the loss of a business affects the village budget. I also addressed what could happen if this would happen to Baltimore. Well it appears to be happening, and only time will determine how much higher your water bill will go.

What is happening that “may” cause your water/sewer bill to increase ?.....As you are aware, the Village of Baltimore has sold water to Thurston for many years, but it now appears that the sale of water to Thurston will cease in the near future. I spoke with a Thurston resident who is knowledgeable about the water system, and it was stated the Thurston pays Baltimore an average of $ 8,000 each month for water supplied to them. There are rumors that the relationship between Thurston and Baltimore became “distressed” when Thurston determined that they “may” be paying for more water that they were actually using. Since very little information is available to Baltimore taxpayers, there is no way to prove or disprove whether this actually happened. What is known is that Thurston has applied for “loans” and “grants” to build their own water plant. It is reported that Thurston has purchased land for that purpose. The result is that Baltimore may be losing approximately $ 96,000 in additional revenue.

It is also “rumored” that the paper mill is negotiating with the owners of the “box shop/vegetable processing plant”, and “may” be able to access water from a well on that site. This could result in another large volume user getting their water elsewhere. I have no idea how much water is used there, but would assume that it is much more that the average user in Baltimore.

How will Baltimore make up for that loss of revenue ??? If you guessed it will be another water rate increase, you might be right.

You are probably aware that when Baltimore decided to sell water to Thurston, a water line was installed along S.R. 256, from the existing Baltimore water line to Thurston. The Village Of Thurston “paid for” and “owns” that water line. It is known that one (1) business “wanted/requested” a sewer line be installed on S.R. 256, and that line is now in place and should be functional in the near future. This sewer line cost Baltimore taxpayers approximately $ 170,000. Now it also appears that Baltimore will be running a water line in the same area where the existing water line to Thurston is located. It would seem to me that it would be a better idea to utilize the existing water line, still receive payment for the water supplied to Thurston and any “new” water users, without the additional costs of a new water line.

Spending money “wisely” does not appear to be the intent of this village. If you want to spend money on a water line, why not replace some of the existing water lines in Baltimore that are 60 + years old and have a huge number of repairs due to water line breaks. Not this town, they want to install a water line next to an existing line. I guess that Baltimore is intent in showing Thurston that “you do it our way, or we will punish you”. This reminds me of the “bully” on the elementary school playground.

People also wonder why I have the opinion that the Village Administrator position has only one goal, and that is to increase regulations, ordinances and debt, while also going home with a very nice paycheck. When a Village Administrator, in a community of less than 3,000 citizens, has a paycheck of $ 113,229.41 in wages and benefit costs ( 2010 )......that is absolutely insane, but this village administration allowed that to happen., in fact they made it happen.

When Village Administrator Marsha Hall arrived in 2004, the debt of the village was $ 734,718.When she left in 2011, that debt had increased to $ 8,705,557. During her period of “service” to our community, she had a Mayor and Village Council that did not know the meaning of the word “NO”. New village ordinances/ regulations blossomed, as well as “necessary” public works projects. A new and “enhanced” Police Department was put in place, which functioned very well until the Village discovered they couldn’t afford it. After two unsuccessful attempts to get taxpayers to give up more money, the Police

Department is again relying heavily on “reserve/volunteer” officers to maintain police protection. It was stated that Marsha Hall moved on to Groveport to increase her earnings, but I sincerely believe that she wanted to be “out of here” before angry citizens started to question the direction this community was moving.

My sources in Thurston tell me that the water plant in Thurston is almost “guaranteed”. Will Baltimore increase water bills in Baltimore to offset the loss of the monies from Thurston? We will see, and not too far down the road. If it does happen, it is because of the “arrogance” of this village administration.

Charles R. Lamb

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