Rate hike proposed in Mingo Junction

MINGO JUNCTION – Village Council on Tuesday announced a public hearing will be held concerning a proposed $6 per-month increase to residents in their sewage bills to pay for the state-mandated sewer separation project on Lincoln Avenue.

The hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Jan. 30 at the Municipal Building.

Council last summer entered into a contract for the $2.5 million sewer separation project as mandated by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. Work is expected to begin in the next several weeks and be completed in late spring.

The village’s engineering consultant said the project involves separating wastewater and storm water into different pipes. The engineer said the combined system now can lead to an overflow issue at the wastewater treatment plant and untreated sewage being dumped into the river.

The village has received a 20-year state loan.

The project will include separating about 3,2000 feet of wastewater and storm water lines. Water lines also will be replaced in the work area.

Residents currently pay $2 a month in their sewage bills for capital improvement projects. Council is proposing increasing the rate to $8 a month.

Council also heard ongoing complaints about the FeX processing plant on south Commercial Avenue.

Village resident Francis DiLoreto, who has appeared several times at prior meetings with complaints about the company, suggested a council committee be appointed, with Mayor John Fabian, in monitoring the complaints. DiLoreto has complained about noise and dust coming from the processing plant.

Fabian said he talked to a company representative about getting the street swept and fixing damaged curbs.

DiLoreto said the trucks going in and out of the plant exceed weight limits in the area.

But Village Administrator Steve Maguschak, who also is police chief, said he had cruisers recently parked near the plant and officers didn’t observe any violations of village ordinances. Maguschak in his report to council also noted the company hired a street sweeper to collect dirt and dust twice a month.

Fabian also asked for a moment of silence during the meeting for the FeX worker who was killed in an industrial accident there on Saturday.

Fire Chief John Wright said the fire and emergency medical services had 755 calls in 2013, making the department the third busiest in the county.

Wright asked council to hire a full-time employee for the department, adding he and another fire department worker are handling nearly all of the medical calls. He said the fire department reached concessions with council last year calling for the full-time employee to be kept on the payroll.

Councilman George Irvin Jr. said he doesn’t see a problem in hiring the additional member for the fire department, but Councilman Chuck Dickey said he wanted to wait until budgets are finalized for 2014.

Village Clerk John Angelica said he anticipates the fire department budget being increased from $108,000 to $120,000 this year.

Wright again asked council to place an emergency medical services levy on the ballot.

Council scheduled a meeting for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday to work on the 2014 budget.

Council also amended an ordinance granting additional sick time to two village employees. The amendment calls for the workers paying back only the sick time used.

Councilman Michael Herrick announced shelter reservations at Aracoma Park will be accepted beginning at 8 a.m. on Jan. 22 at the Municipal Building.