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Council rejects income tax rebate

MILLERSPORT – Village council members unanimously rejected a request for an income tax rebate Tuesday night.

Chet Hauck, owner of Aquamarine in Millersport, requested the rebate at council’s July 11 meeting on the village’s recently enacted one percent income tax that also applies to corporate income as an incentive to move approximately 30 jobs from Florida to Millersport. Hauck recently purchased the vacant former screw factory in Millersport to house the expanded local operations.

“If we do it for one, we have to do it for all,” Council President Pro Tem Dustin Bidwell said. “We can’t afford to lose anything. We’re not Pataskala.” Other council members echoed his sentiments.

In other business, Mayor Gary Matheny and Village Administrator Vince Popo discussed problems with the raw sewage on Terrace Street during the July 13 heavy rains. They plan to try an inexpensive solution first that worked in Newark using “birdbath” plastic covers to keep sewage from overflowing. Both expect a new sewer line will ultimately be needed at an estimated cost of $200,000 – $400,000.

Popo said a holding tank is also needed at the sewage treatment plant to keep from overwhelming the plant after heavy rains. He said an Ohio EPA inspector recommended seeking a loan to fund the tank. Popo wants to pay for it out of reserves to avoid adding any more debt. “Our goal is to cut debt and spend cash,” he explained to council members.

The village also needs storm sewers on 2nd, 3rd and 6th streets. There was some good news on grant availability. Millersport now qualifies for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), based on an income survey that determined the village meets the threshold of at least 51 percent low to moderate income.

Street superintendent Gilbert Arnold reported that about half of the donated playground equipment from Tarhe Elementary School in Lancaster has been removed and is being temporarily stored at the Street Department garage. The next step is to remove the structural posts that are set in concrete.

The equipment will be reinstalled in Veterans Park behind the municipal complex. The aging playground equipment will be removed from the Tot Lot which may become the site for a community garden next year.

Council members also heard the second reading of an ordinance stating the village services and zoning conditions to be provided to the area contained in a proposed annexation of property being purchased for a Dollar General store. The property is 1.67 acres on the west side of Lancaster Road just north of the village corporation limit. Popo has repeatedly told store development representatives that, “Council and the mayor will not give them any water or sewer until they are annexed.” There are existing water and sewer lines that can serve the site.

At their July 11 meeting, council members unanimously agreed to suspend the three reading rule and adopt a resolution splitting a $250,000 State of Ohio grant for streetscape improvements with the Village of Buckeye Lake. Millersport has completed the design for a park and gazebo on the site of the former Sohio Station on Lancaster Street.

Construction will begin as soon as they receive a final soil test report. Testing did not turn up any evidence of contamination from fuel leaks, but there was a positive test for signs of combustion. If that result is confirmed, it can be mitigated by placing a concrete cap over the area that’s about 40 feet away from the sidewalk.

Buckeye Lake officials have not discussed their plans publicly. The projects, which require a $62,500 match to spend the entire $125,000 grant, must be completed by June 30, 2018.

Council’s next meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, August 8, at the village complex.

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