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Ironton approved for forgivable loan from OEPA

The City of Ironton may get funds from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to use on water department projects.

The OEPA has notified the city that it has been approved to receive a forgivable loan for 30 percent of projects up to $7 million dollars.

The water storm and sewer departments would pay the other 70 percent of the project over 30 years with 2 percent interest.

The city may decide to take all the money, some of it, or none of it if it cannot afford it, Mayor Rich Blankenship said.

“Right now were crunching numbers,” Blankenship said. “We don’t want to do anything until we know we can do it.”

He added that he did not want to raise the water rates to pay for the project.

Two projects in particular were discussed at the city council meeting and the city council finance committee meeting Thursday night: water line replacement and water meter replacement.

The water line on Third Street starting at Lorain Street and continuing to Coal Grove Village limits needs to be replaced, Blankenship said.

That part of the line has been repaired at least 37 times, he said.

“It costs us a lot in man hours and a lot of danger to traffic in a main throughway in town,” Blankenship said.

The water main breaks are costly for the city and also take workers away from reading water meters. The mayor said every time a water main break occurs, the five workers have to stop reading meters to fix it.

Replacing the city’s water meters with electronic ones was also discussed at the meeting.

These meters would use a radio signal to communicate the reading to a computer, Doug Cade of E.L. Robinson Engineering explained.

The current meters slow down over time. Cade said the city could increase revenue by at least 5 percent with the newer meters because the readings would be more accurate.

One worker could read all the city’s meters in about four hours, Cade said.

The city has until January to let the OEPA know of its decision about the money.

In other business, the Ironton City Council also:

Passed an ordinance awarding a contract for solid waste to Rumpke Waste, Inc of Cincinnati. The contract will be for one year and have a fixed rate of $32 per ton of waste disposed.

Heard the first reading of an ordinance authorizing the mayor to convey a piece of property to the State of Ohio.

Passed an ordinance authorizing the mayor to enter into a contract with the Ironton Metropolitan Housing Authority.

Heard the second reading of an ordinance to provide equal housing opportunity in the city.

Heard the second reading of an ordinance vacating Lewis Lane Street.

Passed an ordinance amending the annual operating budget for the city.