2013-11-16 / News

Public Works director resigns

By Scott Rawdon

BUCKEYE LAKE- Village Council members were surprised to receive Director of Public Works Vaughn Klingler’s resignation Monday night. Klingler, who held the position for 10 months, said personal obligations are keeping him from devoting adequate time to the position and he decided to step down effective Nov. 14.

“I think you’ve accomplished a huge amount in the 10 months you’ve been here,” said council member Arletta Ruton to Klingler, who added that he would still consult with the village on a very limited basis following his resignation.

“Vaughn’s been a highlight of the people we’ve hired,” said Mayor Rick Baker. “I hate to see him go, but we’ll lean on him quite a bit.” He said Tuesday he’s not sure if Klingler’s position would be filled. The next administration would likely make that decision; Baker’s term as mayor is up at the end of the year.

In a related issue, council heard the first reading of an ordinance to establish a village storm water utility, a cause Klinger has championed for months.

A storm water utility is a “stand-alone” service unit within the local government that generates revenues through fees for service, said Jobes Henderson & Associates President Jim Roberts during a previous meeting. A storm water utility is responsible for funding the operation, construction and maintenance of storm water management devices, for storm water system planning, and management. A storm water utility generates its revenue through user fees, which go into a specific fund specifically for storm water services.

“It is a user fee; it is not a tax,” Roberts explained. He said a storm water utility would generate some “much needed” funding to alleviate storm water drainage problems, which happen village-wide, and it would provide relief to the general fund, which currently pays for storm water drainage maintenance.

Previously, Baker said he favored a storm water utility for the City of Newark when he was on its council. “I thought there was a real need in Newark at the time,” he said. As far as Buckeye Lake is concerned, “There are (storm water drainage) problems all over the village. On and on and on there are water drainage problems.”

“The utility would be unfunded for now,” said Klingler. He said assuming council approves the ordinance to create a utility, 2014 would be spent working out a fee structure, and there would be no fee to residents until 2015.

Previously, Baker said he estimated a fee at roughly $3 to $4 per month, but that was just a guess.

“I see a great need for the storm water utility,” said council member Barry Herron, adding that he objects to assessing people to finance the utility. However, his objection would not stop him from voting to create a utility. “It’s best for the village to have a storm water utility,” he said.

In other village news:

• Klingler said the village worked with the Licking County Engineer’s Office to stripe a double yellow line on Mill Dam Road for less than $600. “Unfortunately,” they were out of white paint,” he said, adding that the village would likely work with the county again next year to paint white stripes on Mill Dam Road. Klingler said without the county’s help, the village may have been forced to spend up to $5,000 for the striping.

Klingler said Licking County has been a strong supporter of Buckeye Lake from providing Community Development Block Grants for sidewalks, curbs, storm drains and street repairs, to conferences to apply for state grants, storm water loans, and compliance to a number of EPA requirements. “Buckeye Lake doesn’t have a lot of money to throw at projects,” he said. “Networking with Licking County and the surrounding cities and townships has led to significant savings in doing our projects.”

• Klingler said he and Water Tech Toby Miller suggest increasing water rates over three years to compensate for Millersport raising its water rates by 75 cents per 1,000 gallons next year. Millersport supplies bulk water to Buckeye Lake Village’s distribution system.

Klingler said he and Miller support raising Buckeye Lake water rates by five percent in 2014, 2015, and 2016, which works out to 26 cents per 1,000 gallons each year. “People will have time to budget,” said Klingler. “It won’t hit them all at once. We have to increase (rates). This is a more palatable increase.”

• Council president Charlene Hayden said the Buckeye Lake Youth Association’s Trunk-or-Treat night was successful, even though a threatened storm forced it to be rescheduled from Oct. 31 to Nov. 3.

• Hayden said she believes volunteers’ willingness to transport voters to the new polling place at the Union Township Complex helped the situation. The move was a hardship for voters who lack adequate transportation. “Having people available to transport voters to the polls was helpful for several people,” said Hayden. “It was definitely good that we provided this service.” She said she was uncertain of everyone who volunteered, she knew that she, Buckeye Lake Director of Development Mike Cassidy, and residents Dave Edgar and Kitty Zwissler transported voters. “Thanks to all of these people and anyone else we failed to mention,” said Hayden.

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