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Buckeye Lake water contract signing delayed

BUCKEYE LAKE – It’s been 28 years; what’s two more weeks? Neither the Village of Buckeye Lake’s solicitor nor Millersport’s solicitor was ready for either village to sign a contract for public water service Monday night. Previously, Buckeye Lake Mayor Frank Foster said he hoped a contract would be signed during the March 10 Buckeye Lake Village Council meeting, but now it looks like at least two more weeks before it may happen.

The Village of Buckeye Lake was incorporated in 1980. Since then, it has a public sewer system, but no public water. Residents use private wells. The village is currently negotiating to tie onto Millersport’s public water system.

Monday night, Buckeye Lake Village Council President Charlene Hayden said both villages’ solicitors met to discuss the proposed contract and were very close to agreement, but they wanted to review other communities’ water contracts to ensure no details were missed. “I think they’ll have things together by the end of the month,” she said. A contract may be ready for council consideration by the March 24 council meeting. Ohio Rural Community Assistance Partnership Field Agent Coordinator John Rouch may be present for that meeting.

Monday, March 17, 4 p.m., the council will meet in special session at the Village Hall to discuss design costs for the village’s water distribution system.

Council member Drew Bourne said Monday night that he believes Kevin Wood, vice president of M•E Companies – the engineering firmthat’s designing the village’s water distribution system-is “dragging his feet” on finishing the distribution system’s design. “That plan for the distribution system should be done,” he said. “It seems like he’s just milking the system.”

Hayden agreed that M•E Companies may need a “push,” but she said the village was only recently financially able to move forward with a water system.

Bourne said the village has paid M•E Companies about $200,000. “It seems like we should see something for our $200,000,” he said.

Hayden said the village had debts to pay before progress was possible. Since those are paid, the village should progress more quickly.

Wednesday, Foster said Wood has “done everything requested of him,” and the village has been “cautious” about using M•E Companies’ services “as to minimize expenses.”

Director of Development Valerie Hans said she applied for nearly $2 million in federal grants toward the water system, but she couldn’t guarantee the village would receive them.

In other council news:

• Hayden thanked Streets Superintendent Mark Dymek and village employee Randy Bucy for plowing the streets during and after last weekend’s snowstorm. “They were very busy from Friday on,” she said. Buckeye Lake firefighter Toby Miller helped plow streets on Saturday as well.

• Council member Jim Bartoe said the police department is creating a new schedule in the wake of a failed 2.5 mill levy. The levy failed 264 votes in favor to 409 opposed. It was intended to raise an additional $110,819 per year. Bartoe responded to a Beacon Letter to the Editor which criticized the department for failing to address severe drug issues and not making more drug related arrests.

“You can’t make (drug) busts just searching people,” he said. Police need to have a warrant before they can make arrests. “They are making the arrests they can make,” said Bartoe. “Just putting that we’re not making drug busts; it’s not that easy.”

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