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Contract awarded for water line extension

BUCKEYE LAKE – Village council members awarded a $62,400 contract to Perry Reclaiming, Inc. of Corning less that a week after bids were opened to extend Buckeye Lake water lines 1,700 feet along Hunts Landing Road.

Perry Reclaiming submitted the lowest of three bids. Conie Construction co. of Columbus was second at $76,015 and Layton, Inc. of Newark was last at $87,765. The engineer’s cost estimate was $88,000.

Council members were told at their Nov. 22 meeting by Jack Christy of ME Companies – the village’s engineering firm – that the project would be funded by leftover grant funds. Two Beacon
reports based on Christy’s assertions drew the attention of Ohio EPA officials.

It turns out that grant or stimulus money was exhausted months ago. There is project money leftover, but it is from a Water Supply Revolving Loan made to the village. The loan money must be repaid.

“Somewhere there was confusion as to what was (federal stimulus) money compared to other funding sources for the project,” Mayor Rick Baker told The Beacon.

Before Buckeye Lake Village installed a public water distribution system last year, the Licking County Water and Waste Water Department planned to install a water line to serve 100 residences at the Landings at Maple Bay development – which is now on indefinite hold due to its bankruptcy filing – near Hunts Landing Road. However, now that the village has its own public water supply, the county will not provide water to the Hunts Landing Road area.

Erin Strouse, Ohio EPA media relations coordinator, explained the funding package. She said no federal stimulus money is available for the Hunts Landing loop project because the village’s $5 million stimulus grant was disbursed ahead of loan money and has been spent. She said perhaps ME Companies isn’t making the distinction between a federal stimulus project and the funding involved in the project (federal stimulus money plus a loan from the Ohio EPA’s Water Supply Revolving Loan Account).

Strouse said the village had enough money left over in the entire water project funding package – which is purely Water Supply Revolving Loan Account money at this point and not federal stimulus money – to fund the Hunts Landing loop.

During Monday night’s village council meeting, council member Donna Thompson initially objected to adopting the ordinance to hire Perry Reclaiming as an emergency (meaning the council votes to forego the rule that the ordinance must be read publicly at three separate meetings to allow for public comment) because she wasn’t familiar with Perry Reclaiming. Council members told her Perry Reclaiming did a good job building the village’s booster station for the water system. She was also concerned that its bid was so much lower than the others. “You get what you pay for,” she said. Council members and village employees assured her Perry Reclaiming does quality work. The ordinance to enter into contract with Perry Reclaiming was approved unanimously.

Service Director Tim Matheny said the work would be completed quickly. “They’ll be in and out in two weeks,” he said. There will be no taps on the waterline extension and only two fire hydrants. Matheny said the village saved $40,000 by not having Stillion Brothers – the contractor who installed the primary water distribution system – do the job.

In other village news:

• Mayor Rick Baker said the Buckeye Lake Community Christmas party for local children Dec. 11 was a tremendous success, with roughly 500 attendees. “This is really a neat affair, a neat thing for the community,” he said. Baker said the event is a big help to people who may not have enough money to provide holiday gifts to their children. The Buckeye Lake Community Celebration Committee (BLCCC), the Buckeye Lake Museum, and the Buckeye Lake Fire Department worked together to organize the event and collect clothing and toys that were given to anyone who needed them.

Council President Charlene Hayden said people who attended the party consumed more than 400 hot dogs in total and roughly eight gallons of hot chocolate.

“It was wonderful crowd and great weather,” said Buckeye Lake Museum Director J-me Braig Tuesday. “We had the most attendees we’ve had for the past six years. We bought 350 new coats along with 100 gently used coats that were donated from all over the county.” Braig said everyone who asked for a coat received one, including children and parents. Everyone also received a hat and gloves.

“Santa showed up on a Buckeye Lake fire truck with horns and sirens blazing,” said Braig. Children happily yelled and screamed at Santa’s arrival. “That was very cool,” she said. The line to visit Santa was long, but each child had a chance to sit on his lap and receive a stuffed animal, candy, and toys. “They then went to get hot dogs, chips, homemade cookies, and hot chocolate,” said Braig. “Everyone went away warm and full.”

She said she spoke to several families who thanked her and the committee for organizing the event and providing coats and toys for their children. “I know the residents are thankful for the help during the holiday season,” said Braig. She said it takes all year to raise the money to provide all the items needed for the children. “There are wonderful volunteers that help with many events,” said Braig. Twenty volunteers worked Saturday.

“Being a Buckeye Lake girl myself, I know the needs of many of the people in my town,” said Braig. “It makes sense to me to help those around you (because) someday you may need them to help you. It’s that ‘pay forward’ theory.”

• Hayden said Buckeye Lake Hardware helped to restore the village’s holiday lights, saving the village the expense of replacing them. “I think they look really great,” she said.

• Council member Clay Carroll said the Public Safety Committee is looking into creating crosswalks across Ohio 79. He said committee members will arrange a site visit with Ohio Department of Transportation representatives to discuss what’s needed for crosswalks, including concrete work. There is no timeline for when or if crosswalks will be created. “We’re just progressing forward,” said Carroll. “We’re getting a little closer.”

• Chemcote, the company that repaved Buckeye Lake’s streets following the water distribution system installation, received a payment for $53,000 – $44,000 of which was paid through an Ohio Public Works Commission grant, and $9,000 from a Community Development Block Grant. There’s $3,200 left to be billed.

• Beginning next year, water tech Toby Miller will become Water Supervisor – a part-time position at $12 per hour. His current part-time position will be filled and remain $10 per hour.

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