Monday, December 3, 2012

Wellsville Council Jacking Up Sewage Rates

At their last meeting in November all Council members were present with Mayor Susan Haugh presiding. 

During the Public Speaking portion of the agenda Commerce Street resident Ron DuMoulin requested maybe the administration could line someone up to clean up after parades.  DuMoulin especially noted candy & flyers that are often found littering the route following a parade.  DuMoulin also encouraged Wellsville residents to decorate a little bit for the Christmas Season. 

In his report Village Administrator Thom Edgell commended the DuMoulins for voluntarily decorating the Wells Avenue Bridge, the Boy & the Boot and the 17th Street marquee with the holiday decorations.  Edgell noted it was the first time in his memory that he’s seen the marquee decorated.  Edgell also noted the efforts of Councilwoman Goss for her work with the Christmas Decorating Committee.

Edgell reported that he witnessed a demonstration of resuscitators for the Village police cruisers. He will be meeting with members of the Property Committee on that subject and also about some problems at Springhill Cemetery.  He also noted that additional heaters have been installed in the Newlin Memorial Chapel thanks to the Wellsville Memorial Council.  Councilman Brown added that Milligan Hardware owner Art Doak was very helpful with getting the heaters. 

Edgell wrapped up his report stating that participation in the 50/50 sidewalk program has “really dwindled & he is considering throwing in the towel” instead of going forward with it.  That program is where the Village will share the cost half & half with residents that want to get new sidewalks installed.  Edgell said he will be meeting with Councilman Cataldo about the sidewalk program.

United Water’s Sewage Treatment Plant Manager Greg Stewart reported that during the month of October an average of 755,370 gallons per day of waste water was treated.  Stewart noted that Buckeye Water supplied an average of 406,290 gallons per day of potable water to Wellsville residents for the same time period.  With Tropical Storm Sandy there was 4.58” of rain recorded for October. 

For the month of October, Animal Control Officer Heidi Pecorelli reported that she responded to a total of 72 calls.  She made three court appearances relating to various citations and recovered two dogs that had been stolen.  Two dogs were adopted and an additional four were placed with rescue organizations.  In all she had 96 round trips to the pound for October.

In her report Mayor Haugh added her commendation to the DuMoulins saying “you guys rock”.  The Mayor also expressed her appreciation to Ms. Goss for her efforts raising funds to buy and organizing the decorations for Broadway Park and a couple of other areas.  Haugh also thanked the Fire Department members for their help in decorating the park.

Additionally the Mayor reported that she intended the grand opening of Anchor Drilling Fluids which is located in the Intermodal Park.  They are now on-line.  She also attended an open house at Marathon Oil which was primarily for safety forces.  Haugh noted that with Marathon expanding they will be furnishing Wellsville with a firefighting unit that disperses foam.  The unit is on a trailer and has to be kept in a heated building.  Tentative plans are to add onto the Village Fire Station to house the unit.  The unit and the building addition will be at Marathon’s expense according to Haugh.

Finance Committee Chair Diane Dinch reported that the General Fund has $1.089 million and total of all funds is $1.336 million.  Council also approved paying of $51,901 in current bills.  Dinch noted she would like to see Council look into to costs for phone service from different companies. 

Councilman Don Brown got approval to pay Rudzik Excavating $197,004 for Payment Application #1.  Rudzik is doing the installing the first part of the sewage forced main renovation.  This payments comes out of the Ohio Public Works grant.

Brown also noted that there are a lot of outstanding sewage bills.  He advised that letters will be sent out to delinquent customers.  If bills are not paid up water will be shut off and won’t be turned on until customers are caught up.  He added there will be an added $50 fee.

In other business an ordinance authorizing the Fiscal Officer to transfer an additional $50,000 of the Marcellus lease money to Capital Improvement Fund was passed.  The bulk of the money received for the lease of mineral rights is invested.  Out of that amount it was agreed to use $100,000 for much needed improvements in the Village.  This transfer is the second portion of that $100,000.

In spite of what was reported in the print media Council placed an ordinance to raise the sewage rates on first reading only.  Dinch noted that no one on the Finance or Sewage Committees wanted to ask for a rate increase but advised their hands were forced. The Sewage fund is operating in the red.   Dinch noted that other than the $0.25 rate increase per customer per month put into effect a year or so ago sewage rates haven’t been increased for over 10 years.  That quarter increase per month was supposed to cover loan payments.  She added that the Village is not bringing in enough to cover loan payments and utilities for the Sewage Treatment Plant.  Converting to aerobic digesters at the plant meant a huge increase in the amount of electricity used to run the plant.  In the last couple of years Wellsville lost over 200 customers and 54% of the customers they do have use only the monthly minimum or less.  Only 388 sewage customers use over 3,000 gallons per billing period. 

Sewage bills are based on the amount of water used per household.  Customers using 2,000 gallons or less will stay at $20.07 per month.  Anyone using over 2,000 gallons will be accessed an additional $7.50 per 1,000 gallons over 2,000 gallons. That is increased from $6.19 per 1,000.  Dinch added that everyone will be charged a $4 surcharge per month regardless of the amount used.  That alone will bring in over $6,100 additional per month. 

The next Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, December 4, at 6 PM at Village Hall. 
ole nib


Anonymous said...

If interest is "dwindling" on the sidewalk program, maybe they should try opening it up to ALL residents instead of just certain streets. I was told i would have to wait a few years because of where i live. Why should I lose out on this program because the people in the area they are offering it won't or can't take advantage of it. Don't punish me because people on the north end of town aren't interested.

Anonymous said...

what blocks are covered?

Anonymous said...

SEWAGE RATES RISING next thing the water ... when will wellsville stop putting it to the people ....the town is dyng more everyyear ... thats right raise everything and chase more folks away .....where is all this money gonna go to cause it deff aint going to the pavement of our streets ,,, which the money we pay at the liscense bureu is to go for .....i say no to raising sewage rates and for them to find the money elsewhere """""""""

Anonymous said...

Any money found "elsewhere", still comes from the taxpayers. Government is run on taxes and levies. Wellsville lost it's water because it was unable to pay for updates at it's water treatment plant and meet EPA requirements. If Wellsville were to lose it's sewage operation, you would be paying more to an outside entity.