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Close, but still no water contract

BUCKEYE LAKE – Buckeye Lake Village’s steady march toward signing a public water agreement with the Village of Millersport stepped closer to a signed ordinance Monday night, but council still has yet to approve it. Council tentatively scheduled a special meeting Monday, April 21, 7 p.m. to approve an ordinance to enter into an agreement with Millersport.

Mayor Frank Foster said the attorneys for both villages were satisfied with the latest proposed contract, but he only received a copy of it a few hours before Monday night’s meeting, and council member Drew Bourne was absent from the meeting. Council members agreed they wanted a short time to review the latest proposed contract and they wanted all council members present to vote.

“My hope is we’ll be discussing it and approving it” during the special meeting, said Foster. In addition to being anxious to end the grueling approval process, Foster said council needs to vote soon or the village may miss up to $60,000 in potential grant money toward the public water system.

Millersport Village Council member Dave Levacy said Tuesday that Millersport council members would probably be willing to schedule a special meeting to approve a contract ahead of May 13, their next regularly scheduled council meeting, if Buckeye Lake council members ask them to do so. “If it’s important to (the Buckeye Lake council), we’ll act sooner,” he said.

Levacy said he didn’t receive the most recent copy of the proposed contract until Monday night, but he doesn’t expect any objections from Millersport council members.

Buckeye Lake council members received a proposed timeline for the installation of a Buckeye Lake public water distribution system from Kevin Wood, vice president of M•E Engineering, the firmdesigning the distribution system. Assuming an agreement is reached with Millersport, Wood expects to receive a PTI, or permit to install, for the distribution system from the Ohio EPA by June 27. He hopes construction will begin Nov. 27, 2009, and water will flowby Jan. 4, 2010.

In other council news:

• Foster said a village police cruiser’s “engine died.” Instead of investing more money into the aged vehicle, Buckeye Lake Police Captain James Hanzey said there is a used cruiser with about 69,000 miles available for about $2,900 and he suggested he take a look at it. He said it was formerly a canine unit and already has the “police package” with suspension and alternator upgrades.

Hanzey said most of the equipment on the ailing Buckeye Lake cruiser would transfer to the new one, if purchased. He said all of the village’s current cruisers have well in excess of 100,000 miles each. “Our fleet is just worn out,” said Hanzey, except for his cruiser, which has about 69,000 miles. He estimates he puts 1,100 miles per month on the cruiser.

The next regular monthly public meeting to discuss the police department’s upcoming 2.5 mills November police levy is May 6, 6 p.m., in the Village Hall.

• Council President Charlene Hayden said there was a strong turnout for a visit from Ohio Representative Dan Dodd (D – Hebron) April 2, at the Village Hall. Dodd said that during the visit he discussed Governor Ted Strickland’s “Building Ohio Jobs” plan and the bipartisan agreement on how to fund this economic stimulus package. “This program has great potential to help places like Buckeye Lake through our increased investment in Public Works projects and the Clean Ohio fund,” said Dodd Monday. During his visit, he also discussed Strickland’s plans to introduce a constitutional system of school funding in 2009 and his efforts to reform the Ohio Department of Education.

• Foster said Buckeye Lake Parks and Recreation Commission member Chuck Jackson will create public walking paths at the village well field, which is just south of the Buckeye Lake Estates, and visible from Ohio 79. “If you see any activity down there, that’s what’s going on,” he said.

• A couple new businesses are coming to town, including Wendi’s Kitchen in the former Grub Shack building on Ohio 79. Former Grub Shack owner Kevin Gorham, executive manager and former owner of the Pizza Cottage, said the building will be leased to Wendi Wagner, who owns Wendi’s Wagon catering business based in Reynoldsburg. He said people may recognize “Wendi’s Wagon” from the Hartford Fair. Gorham said Wagner wants to expand her business into Licking County and needs a full service kitchen to do so. The former Grub Shack building was a perfect fit,he said. In addition to catering, she will sell some carry out items from the building. Gorham said the menu will be similar to the Grub Shack’s, with barbeque beef and chicken, along with daily specials. “I think she’ll do really well there,” he said.

A new pizza shop is also slated for the former Amy’s Bait Store building on SR 79 near Lee’s Chicken.

• Foster said the village’s spring clean-up weekend was extremely successful. Villagers filled seven dumpsters with trash, instead of the usual seven, and 68 old tires were collected with the help of Sharon Bartoe, wife of council member and former mayor Jim Bartoe. “This was one of the most successful we’ve ever had,” said Foster.

• Director of Development Valerie Hans said about $70,000 in grant money was secured for phase III of the village’s paved walking path project along Ohio 79. Phase II should be complete this summer, she said. Phase I was completed from the Buckeye Lake Estates north to SR 360. “I hope folks like the sidewalks,” she said.

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