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Commission to review sewer fee reduction

At its next regular session the Lawrence County Commission will consider if the sewer fees charged by the Union-Rome Sewer District for unoccupied structures should be lowered.

Contractor Mike Finley at the commission’s Thursday meeting asked if the commission would approve a reduction from the current $18 a month per sewer line.

Currently if a residential building houses multiple apartments, each apartment is assessed the monthly fee. Finley owns a building with 11 vacant apartments.

“I’m putting out $200 some a month and not putting anything in the system” he told the commissioners. “Five dollars is enough for the county to get for doing nothing.”

Commission president Les Boggs said he would put the issue on next week’s agenda. Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, the commissioners will meet at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday

“(Reducing the fee) would provide an incentive to remodel apartments,” commissioner Bill Pratt said. “(The current fee) is a disincentive to take on a project.”

Pratt asked that sewer district administrator Tim Porter review what effect a reduction in that rate would have on the district.

The commissioners also received an email from Brett Looney, director of the Lawrence County Juvenile Center, on the wastewater treatment plant at the juvenile center on State Route 93.

“We have had multiple issues with the system since we moved operations to the Route 93 location in the summer of 2009,” the email states. “We were encouraged to utilize the staff of the Rome/Union Sewer Plant to answer questions about the operation of our plant. Tim Porter and his staff have been very helpful over these five years with administrative advice and technical assistance, but have lacked the resources to provide staff for ‘hands on’ addressing of issues.

“Despite my staff’s best efforts, we find ourselves dealing with a system that needs attention and we lack the training and expertise to fix the problems. We are unsure of the next step to take and are requesting guidance and suggestions from the board of commissioners.”

Boggs said that the system is too large for the needs of the center. The commissioners agreed to have Porter assess the situation for Looney.

In other action the commission:

• Agreed to re-hire Terry Porter at the department of job and family services following his retirement there;

• Agreed to receive from the Ohio Moving Forward Demolition Grant Agreement $8,522 to removed eyesores in the county;

• Accepted the retirement of Sharon McKee from the DJFS;

• Approved a consulting service agreement for landslide repair on County Road 32;

• Received the weekly dog warden’s report of Oct. 25 where no dogs were destroyed, 48 were adopted or went to rescue and none were redeemed by owners and the report of Nov. 1 where no dogs were destroyed, 15 were adopted or went to rescue and none were redeemed by owners.