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Hearing set on Thornville sewer, water contracts

THORNVILLE- For anyone who has questions or comments about Thornville’s proposed water and sewer contracts with Perry County, Thursday night, July 5, is your chance. The Thornville Village Council is holding a public hearing at the Village Shelter House in the Village Park July 5 at 7 p.m. Following the public hearing, the council will likely vote whether to approve the contracts after a third reading during its Monday, July 9 meeting.

Village Administrator Ron Koehler said the village council and solicitor “kicked the (proposed) contracts around pretty good” after the Perry County Commissioners lent their approval to the proposed contracts in June. He said council members had no major issues with the proposed contracts when they were discussed at a first reading during council’s June 25 meeting.

If approved, the sewer contract allows Thornville to service homes along the South Bank of Buckeye Lake, mainly along Honey Creek Road. The dilemma of providing sewer to the portion of Buckeye Lake’s south bank in Perry County goes back to the 1970s, when Ohio EPA offered to install a public system, but the county commissioners who were in officeat the time refused the service. After determining that some septic systems in the area were leaking into Buckeye Lake, the Ohio EPA placed a moratorium on additional construction in the area. Frustrated property owners haven’t been able to build on lakeside lots for years. Village residents hope a sewer contract with the county will help to lower steep sewer bills.

Currently, the county is installing the sewer infrastructure necessary to service the south bank, but will need to find an alternative processing source (possibly an upgrade to the existing Crown Wehrle sewage treatment facility) if the contract with Thornville is not approved.

The proposed water contract allows Thornville to provide fresh water to Perry County at a rate of $2.75 per 1,000 gallons, retroactive to Jan. 1. The village has previously charged Perry County $2.01 per 1,000 gallons.

Thornville Mayor Beth Patrick agreed with Koehler that council members had no major sticking points with the proposed contracts Monday night, but will have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss them through the third reading.

Patrick believed council members were satisfied with the answers they received to their questions. She said the sewer contract negotiating team – Koeher, Patrick, and council members Ron Dittoe and Kevin Howell – has put in a “tremendous number of hours” reviewing the contract at its various stages. Whether a contract is approved or not, “The village owes them thanks,” she said.

On a lighter note, Patrick added that the village created a community events ad-hoc committee to try to bring back some of the community events that have faded away over the years. She’d like to bring back the holiday yard decoration contests from years ago, and the village’s Christmas parade. Patrick also wants to bring back “save the pool” events and possibly sponsor a community car show. From the practical side, she said the Thornville Pool needs work and the village can’t secure grants unless it shows the government that it’s putting forth some effort of its own to raise money for the pool and other community projects.

“We’re trying to bring back the spirit of Thornville,” she said. Many people have traditionally volunteered their time to the village out a sense of community. “We need to get back to that,” said Patrick.

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