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Village to seek replacement levy

MILLERSPORT – Village council members unanimously agreed Tuesday night to seek a replacement levy to replace the expiring 2.7 mill operating levy.

The five-year levy which will be collected through 2009 generates about $49,000 a year for village operating expenses. Thanks to increases in property values and new construction, the levy is currently being collected at less than 2.7 mills. If voters approve in November, the collection rate will return to the original 2.7 mills, providing an additional $9,000 a year for a total of $58,000.

Finance chair Dave Levacy said village expenses are increasing, noting that the village doesn’t have an income tax. Two additional steps are required to put it on the November ballot.

In other business Tuesday night, Olde Canal Restaurant coowner Faye Whitaker asked why a customer was warned about parking on the Lancaster Street bridge over the canal.

“There’s not a lot of parking in downtown Millersport,” she told council members. Whitaker had heard that the no parking restriction was a holdover from an earlier bridge and wondered if it could be removed.

Safety chair Paul Detty said state law prohibits parking on bridges. The bridge is owned by the state. Her customer was warned, Detty explained, because police have an obligation to enforce the law.

Whitaker asked if anyone would object if she were able to obtain an exemption from state law for that bridge. There were no objections.

“We need more parking there,” Levacy said. “We would like to help the parking situation.”

Village engineer Michael Carder of GGC Engineers discussed the water discoloration problems. It’s been caused by the start-up of the new water treatment plant. That plant has now been operating for a couple of weeks.

“We’ve changed the direction of water in one of the feeder lines,” he explained. There is also a larger feeder line from the plant to the distribution system. Changes in flow and pressure have broken sediment and rust free. Hydrant flushing which started Tuesday should clear out the sediment and rust.

“Hopefully the worst is past,” Carder said. He emphasized that the water is safe to drink. “It’s basically rust,” Levacy added.

The new plant has received its certificate of use from Ohio EPA. Some tweaking and punch list work must still be done, Carder reported.

Council members also discussed the results of a recent request for proposals to serve as the village solicitor. Long-time village solicitor Tom Corbin recently increased his hourly charge to $230 which prompted the request for proposals.

Corbin responded by reducing his rate to $185 an hour. Kevin Bush, a Walnut Township resident and partner with Weston Hurd LLP, also responded. Bush bid $115 per hour and $165 per hour for a real estate law/zoning specialist. The firm already represents Lancaster, Chillicothe, Grove City, Hilliard and Delaware. After considerable discussion, council members decided to end a 20 year plus relationship with Corbin. They will seek a one year agreement with the firm. “Kevin Bush is no stranger,” Levacy said.

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