MINGO JUNCTION - Village Council on Tuesday discussed applying for a state loan for a water and sewer project that could raise water and sewer bills upwards of $7 a month.
Kevin Wilmot of CT Consultants, the village's engineering firm, told council members they should be ready at the next meeting to approve a resolution applying to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for a 1 percent loan to cover the cost of the estimated $2.5 million Lincoln Avenue sewer separation project.
Wilmot said the village is under an Ohio EPA mandate to separate wastewater and storm water into different pipes. He said the combined system now can lead to an overflow issue at the wastewater treatment plant and untreated sewage being dumped into the river.
He said the loan will be over a 20-year period. The estimated cost is $2.5 million.
"This is mandatory. They (Ohio EPA) is making everyone do it," said Councilman Michael Herrick, adding the village faces stiff fines for not complying.
Wilmot said the project will include separating about 3,200 feet of wastewater and storm water lines. He said water lines also will be replaced in the work area.
Herrick said the village still has about five more separation projects to complete, totaling around $6 million.
Council Clerk John Angelica asked Wilmot to apply for whatever grants are available to help ease the financial burden on residents.
Council also addressed a rumor in town that the senior center has closed. Council said it remains open five days a week, with a paid employee there three days and volunteers two days.
Family and Community Services Inc. of Ravenna was to take over operating the senior center on March 1 but backed out of the agreement.
Council voted to approve moving $5,000 out of unappropriated general fund and moving it to senior center wages to cover the cost of a village employee working there.
Council also agreed to move the location of the planned compactor for village garbage.
Village officials were looking at locating the compactor in the south end of the village, but an adjacent property owner raised legal concerns about the right of way to the property being hindered with the compactor.
Council agreed to move the compactor site to a location between the water treatment plant and the wastewater plant. Howard Armstrong, acting village administrator, said the compactor will not impact the water quality from the water plant.
Village officials agreed in November to buy the compactor at a cost of $63,000 but it will save the village about $40,000 a year in expenses. The compactor is set to arrive in the village in about three weeks. A concrete pad still has to be built and electric service installed.
Council also discussed a pending Community Development Block Grant that will provide about $40,000 to $45,000 to repave a section of Logan Avenue leading to state Route 7. Armstrong said the estimated cost is upwards of $90,000, and the village will have to pay for any amount above the CDBG funding.
Councilman John Fabian said council may need to take the money out of the $119,000 set aside for paving projects this year.
CDBG projects have be to done in low- and moderate income areas.
Armstrong also announced he proposed to Frontier Industrial Corp., the owner of the former RG Steel plant in town, to pay a one-time fee for demolition work at the plant. Council recently approved a change in the demolition fees. Armstrong said he wrote Frontier that it would be in the best interests of both Frontier and the village to have one fee instead of paying as demolition progresses. He said the village doesn't have the manpower to check on the work and the amount of demolition fees to be paid if Frontier doesn't pay the one-time fee.
Armstrong also said he plans to leave his voluntary position as village administrator by the end of May and urged council to begin looking for a permanent replacement. Armstrong is doing the work without pay.
Mayor Ron DiCarlo said Armstrong was a "godsend" to the village in pointing out which way the village should proceed on various issues.
"We appreciate him so much, and none of us wants to see him leave," DiCarlo said.
Council's water and sewer committee will meet at 1 p.m. on April 3, followed by a recreation committee meeting at 2 p.m.