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Deal to restart potato processing plant falls apart

BALTIMORE – Progress is being made on both the cost and revenue sides of the village’s water and wastewater treatment operations, Village Administrator Scott Brown told council members Monday night.

Brown said village employees recently completed inventorying all the water and wastewater units. A total of 46 units weren’t receiving a utility bill because the property was vacant and another 44 units had been overlooked. Property owners are responsible for paying minimum water and sewer bills even if the unit is vacant. Brown said the 90 units will amount to $70,000 a year in base rate revenue. Rentals make up 45 percent of the living units in the village.

He also said the recently completed replacement of the water main on North Main Street is already paying dividends. Brown, who began tracking the amount of “lost” water on a monthly basis, said the amount of water produced over the amount billed, dropped about 50,000 gallons a month with the water main replacement. The village produced almost 4 million gallons more than it billed in March. That water is lost through distribution system leaks, water tower evaporation, unmetered uses and faulty meters.

Brown had good news on the village’s Ohio EPA application for a grant/low interest loan to buy 400 water meters. He’s been told that it appears Baltimore will qualify for a small grant and reduced interest rate loan to purchase the new meters. Official notification will come on June 1.

The Liberty Union Elementary School was the second highest water user in March at 155,300 gallons, trailing Ohio Paper’s 440,100 gallons. In February, the school was the top user at 164,700 gallons. Neither the high school nor middle school ranked in the top five users either month, placing their usage below 43,000 gallons in March and 36,800 in February.

The school’s high usage or the low usage at the middle and high schools caught council member Jim Hochradel’s attention. “I think it deserves a look,” he said. Council member Dwayne Mohler suggested looking at the type of meters being used at the three schools which could account for the wide difference in usage.

In other business, Hochradel said the Service Committee recently met with Trinity Church representatives to discuss their concerns with the proposed Food, Oil and Grease (FOG) ordinance. The ordinance was tabled after its second reading on April 9. The church representatives believe the cost to comply with the proposed ordinance would force it to give up its church dinners.

“We will be working on that FOG ordinance,” Hochradel said.

In his report, Mayor Bobby Kalish said the village was awarded its first ever Tree City designation at an awards ceremony in Dublin. He also reported that the deal for Green Gourmet Foods of Ohio LLC to restart the Fresh Vegetable Technology plant appears to have fallen apart. Discussions are continuing with some new potential investors.

Council’s next meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. on Monday, May 14. Their May 28 meeting has been pushed back a day to May 29 due to the Memorial Day holiday.

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