West Unity Council Discusses Water Deposit, Rails To Trails Acquisition


VR LOGO - WEBBy: Chelsie Firestone

Continued discussion on the proposed increase of the deposit required for water service was had during the West Unity Village Council meeting held on Thursday, April 9.
The increase, described in Ordinance 2015-04, would see an increase of $50 in the deposit required for water service by the village. The current deposit of $75 would Abe replaced by a deposit of $125. The reasoning for such an increase would be to offset losses incurred when renters leave and do not pay their final water bill.

The Ordinance, up for first reading, brought with it discussion from several village officials. Councilman Don Leu stated from the onset of the discussion that he didn’t believe such an increase to be necessary, questioning whether the funds generated from such an increase were worth the additional expense of drawing up the necessary ordinances. Street Supervisor Jim Eisel, who also owns several rental properties, agreed with Leu, noting that he also did not think that such an increase was necessary but that it was much more agreeable than charging such accounts to the landowners as was originally proposed.

Arguments for the increase centered on the premise that the Village is a steward for the taxpayers’ money. Councilman Dave Short noted this, commenting that “We can’t just let it slide”.

In answer to the question of whether or not the suggested increase would be enough to curtail the losses the villages sees in unpaid water bills, Fiscal Officer Kim Grime explained the past due account balances. In Grime’s explanation it was noted that there were a few rather large accounts that will be taken care of with a previously passed ordinance which mandates that repairs to leaks must be signed off on by Village Administrator Ric Beals. This will prevent future abnormally large water bills from occurring at the same properties.

However, roughly 30 additional past due accounts are still on the books. These accounts have a total incurred loss of roughly $1400 in the last two years. Grime explained that an increase in the deposit from $75 to $125 would have been enough to take care of all but 2 or 3 of these accounts.

The subsequent vote on the ordinance gained first reading approval with a 4-1 vote, with Leu being the dissenting vote. A second reading will be held during the next council meeting and it will take a total of three readings for the measure to make final approval.

Also discussed during the meeting was that the transfer of the Rails to Trails property from NORTA to the village has hit a bit of a snag. The property, which was being offered to the Village at the cost of one dollar, cannot have the deed transferred without an updated survey. Village Solicitor Ryan Thompson explained that the original survey is outdated and does not comply with current GPS and Tax Mapping requirements. Engineer Todd Roth is estimating that a new survey would cost $5000, making the acquisition of the land a costly venture for the Village. However, it was noted by Randy Miller from NORTA that grant monies may be available to help defray these costs. Other cost saving measures were also discussed. The transfer of the property has been put on hold until further investigation is done.

In his report to Council, Village Administrator Ric Beals informed Council that:

A new traffic counter has been received from ODOT and traffic studies are being done at the intersection of E. Jackson Street and Liberty Street.

The printer at the water treatment plant has been replaced

Trinity Specialty Compounding requested some information on the Oak Street fire protection tank and Beals was able to provide them with the information.

Tim Fry has finished cutting trees and will be continuing with the stump grinding. It was noted that approximately 40 trees were cut down, mostly by Village employees, this year. The Tree Committee will be meeting soon to discuss the purchase of new trees.

A new shredder was purchased for the Village office.

Nathan Brown of N.W. Brown Electric will soon be repairing the ball field lights at Memorial Park.

Oak Street, Pine Street, and Lincoln Street are all in need of repair.

Beals met with MVPO in Bryan regarding CDBG funding.
Beals attended the monthly WEDCO meeting, which also served as the larger, annual meeting.

Beals attended both the Ohio Small Government Officials Conference and the Ohio Safety Congress last week. He noted that he learned why some ODOT projects have been pushed back and about some of the problems that the legalization of marijuana has brought about in states like Colorado. Beals explained that the pushing back of ODOT projects has been due to the State’s winter 2013-14 salt usage, which totaled one million ton. With the 2014-15 season also seeing high salt usage by the state, Beals noted that he expects further push backs in the future.

The Village’s Spring Big Trash pick-up will be May 11 through May 14. Residents are reminded to have all of their trash out by first thing that Monday morning, sooner if at all possible.

Additionally during the meeting, it was noted by Police Chief J.R. Jones that officer Tyler Borton has moved from part time to full time status.
The next meeting of the West Unity Village Council will be held on Thursday, May 14 at 7:30 PM in council chambers.

Chelsie can be reached at

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