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Pool looks to reopen again next year

MILLERSPORT – Even though June’s poor weather kept the Millersport Pool closed for 19 days, the financially beleaguered pool is expected to finish in ‘the black.’

“Right now, we’re in the black,” Mayor’s assistant Vince Popo told council members Tuesday night.

He credited a $10,000 donation from the Ohio District of the United Pentecostal Church which bases all its summer camps at the Apostolic Campground in Millersport and stronger fundraising efforts for the pool’s improved finances. Council members unanimously agreed not to bill the district for the 12 mornings its campers used the pool.

It appeared last fall that the plug had been pulled for the last time on the 40+ year-old pool. A combination of continuing operating deficits and increasing pressure on the village’s finances was the culprit. In recent years, the pool has been losing $15,000 to $16,000 annually. Council members agreed that the pool would have to become self-supporting to survive.

Popo outlined several recommendations for next year. He suggested that memberships be restricted to village residents and their child care providers. “We lose money on memberships,” he explained. “Our admission prices are very low.”

He also listed several preopening projects for next year. At the top of the list is reducing water usage which means fixing a leak in the skimmer system. “We lose all our water when we get above the skimmers,” council member Gary Matheny said.

Popo also wants to replace the 1971 tank and sand filter. While he doesn’t have cost estimates for either project, he expects they will be costly.

Popo said this year’s significant financial support from the Ohio District of the United Pentecostal Church will continue and noted that the district is also willing to help with a major fundraiser. Popo said planning needs to begin now for these fundraising efforts.

In other business Tuesday night, village engineering consultant Michael Carder P.E. of GGC Engineers outlined the repair and replace options for one of the village’s water storage tanks. He said Dixon Engineering, Inc. which specializes in evaluating water storage tanks estimated it would cost nearly $350,000 to repair an existing tank and it repaint it inside and out. That would extend its life some 10-15 years, Carder said.

An alternative to demolish the 1960’s era tank and replace it with a new one would cost nearly $700,000. Demolition costs would be significant since the tank has lead-based paint on the exterior. Carder said a properly maintained new tank could last 40 to 60 years.

Carder and Water Superintendent John Wood were seeking council’s approval to seek an Ohio Public Works Commission grant for either repair or replacement. Carder said a replacement project would likely have more opportunities for large grants and low-interest loans. He thought the village might get a 1.3 percent loan to fund the unfunded portion of the project.

The village will likely include both options in its OPWC grant request. Council members unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the grant application.

If the choice is made to replace rather than repair, Carder said the best location for a new tank is next to the old one.

Wood also updated council members on several water projects. Hydrants will be flushed system-wide the week of Sept. 21. An ad on Page 3 details the schedule.

“I believe the brown water problem will be gone once these hydrants are flushed,” Wood said.

He plans to rehabilitate the iron filter next spring. The project will require the village to rent a temporary filter while the current one is being rehabilitated. The project will take 45 to 50 days and requires Ohio EPA approval.

He also reported that ODNR recently told him that it will be running some rock haulers weighing 138,000 pounds each over a couple portions of the village’s waterline serving the West Bank area.

Wood fears that the heavy weights could damage the village’s PVC pipes in the area. He said the pipeline may have to be protected within a steel pipe. He told Mayor Dean Severance that ODNR had not offered to pay the cost to protect the water line. Severance plans to discuss the issue with ODNR.

Council members also unanimously approved a $49,850 contract with Spires Paving of Lancaster to resurface the following streets:

• Firehouse Alley from Circle K station to Terrace Street;

• Firehouse Alley from Terrace Street to Park Street;

• Wilson AVenue from Terrace Street to Park Street;

• Fair Avenue from Terrace Street to Park Street;

• Cottage Avenue from Terrace Street to Park Street:

• Terrace Street from Lancaster Street to North Street; and

• North High Street from Terrace Street to the white painted markers.

After considerable discussion, council members decided unanimously to give Kimble Recycling and Disposal 60 days to meet the service standards in their contract with the village or face termination of the contract.

Popo said last week was frustrating with residents complaining about downed lines and overruns at corners. “They have had chances,” council member Donna Thogmartin said. “Let’s start it (60 days).”

Severance announced that a representative from the Regional Income Tax Authority will be at the October council meeting to answer questions about a proposed one percent income tax. A simple majority of council can impose the tax. Severance said residents can express their opinion at the October, November and December council meetings. If council support holds, the new income tax would be effective January 1, 2016.

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