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Kirkersville may still get some public water

KIRKERSVILLE – Public water may still be a possibility for some places in Kirkersville.

Last week, Kirkersville voters overturned council’s decision to contract with the Southwest Licking Community Water and Sewer District to provide public water to properties along Ohio 158 – including the Flying J Truck Stop, Phantom Fireworks, Kirkersville Elementary School, and several parcels proposed for development – by a vote of 179 to 90. This was to be the first phase of the plan to provide public water to the entire village, which now only has public sewer service.

SWLCWSD General Manager Don Rector said Monday that places in the village may still have access to public water. “I’m still hoping an arrangement can be made to provide public water to the folks who need it,” he said. District representatives are considering installing water lines along Outville Road to the Flying J Travel Center. If this happens, said Rector, there would be no assessments, fees, or requirements to hook up to the water for any home or business along the way. He added that he’s still looking into the options and will know if limited public water is a real possibility in a few weeks.

Mayor Terry Ashcraft said Tuesday he wasn’t aware of any plans to bring public water into the village. “Nobody’s called me about doing it,” he said. SWLCWSD would need to bring the matter to council before running any water lines into the village, he said. Ashcraft added that he wasn’t sure why the district would discuss sending water lines into the village when the voters sent such a strong message against public water. He said the village has no talks scheduled with SWLCWSD.

Former Kirkersville Village Council member Carolyn Woods is one of the architects of the referendum to let voters decide on the contract and a member of a small and recently formed community organization called Citizens Against Unnecessary Spending, or CAUS. She has no real objections to public water, particularly for the Flying J and Kirkersville Elementary School, but does object to how the proposed contract was handled; she felt like it was rushed through the process. “Once (SWLCWSD) gets their foot in the door, Lord knows what they’ll do next,” said Woods. “It’s not that I’m totally opposed to water; I’m opposed to how they were doing it.”

Woods said one of CAUS’ goals is to support Ashcraft. “I think most of the people in the village are behind him,” she said. The organization will also work to keep residents up-to-date about events and issues affecting the village. “We, as a small organization, are going to try,” said Woods.

In other council news:

• Ashcraft said when former Police Chief Robert Chamberlain resigned May 14, he took with him a personnel file and several DVDs full of video recordings of traffic stops. Chamberlain still has them. “I don’t know what’s on them; I really don’t,” said Ashcraft, who also doesn’t know why Chamberlain took the file and DVDs. “I’m very concerned about it,” he said.

Ashcraft said current Police Chief Jim Petry is attempting to contact Chamberlain and recover the items.

• Crossway Community Church Pastor Glen Gram said his church purchased the Kirkersville American Legion buildings, but would still like to use the Town Hall for worship services, including Christmas Eve services, Dec. 24, 10 p.m. Council agreed.

• Council agreed to pay Licking County $1,000 toward indigent, or pro bono, legal services for county residents who can’t afford their own legal defense. Council members said most municipalities pay the fee and the county usually finds some way to get the money from those who don’t.

• The Nov. 5 council meeting was the first for new Fiscal Officer Juanetta Metheny, a position she takes over from Clerk Johnny Adkins. She found she needed some supplies for her job, including a 10 key calculator, manila folders, a digital recorder to record meetings to a CD, a speakerphone, and various other items. Council approved $800 to purchase the supplies she requested. • During the meeting, council members commented they only received some documentation when they arrived and weren’t prepared to discuss it that evening. Former council member Debbie Seymour told council members they should delay taking action on any information they only receive that night. “Put it off until you receive the answers you need,” she said.

“We didn’t vote on them tonight,” responded Ashcraft.

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