Council hears water discussion

Published 12:26 pm Sunday, September 17, 2017

Rates, cleanliness among issues

Water was a major issue at the Ironton City Council on Thursday. Residents have been complaining about it getting into the basement on the north end of town. One resident was upset about a proposed increase to pay for phases 4 and 5 seperation of the sewer and wastewater lines in the city. Another complained about brown water coming out of the taps at one of his rental properties.

Lowell Thomas asked the council about ordinance 17-38, which would raise storm water rate would be increased from $3 to $6.50 per gallon, which, if a household uses 5,000 gallons of water a month, they would see an increase of $17.50 monthly.

“How much of that money is really needed,” he asked.

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“Every bit of it,” answered Councilman Rich Blankenship.

The amount would raise about $1.4 million annually.

Thomas was told that there was a copy of the Sept. 5 public utility committee meeting notes that was available.

Thomas asked if the rates increase was a temporary increase for say, five years.

He was told that it wasn’t.

Thomas asked if the sewer system would be put in Green Valley where he lived.

“I have to wade through water,” he said. “It comes up to my garage, my whole front yard is covered in water when we have a substantial rain. That is totally unacceptable in this city, when others have the benefits. I am going to be asked to pay double the fee when I don’t get service. Justify that.”

Vice Mayor Craig Harvey said Thomas wasn’t the only one with water issues and that is what all these ordinances were intended to address.
Mayor Katrina Keith said that the whole point of these projects was to alleviate the issues, and once all the corrections are made, it will eventually eliminate some of the flooding issues.

Keith said that the problems couldn’t be fixed overnight.

Landlord Bill Lightner brought a one-quart Mason jar of water that came from one of his rental homes on South Seventh Street between Chestnut and Quincy.

“It looks like pee, almost,” he said, of the faintly brown water. He added that he watched his renters fill up a kid’s pool and it had dirt on the bottom of it. He said his renters had contacted the water department to flush the water line.

“That line was put in 1912,” he said. “What I’m suggesting is that this water line be inspected. I don’t want to drink this stuff. This water line has to have something done with it. There is dirt getting in this line.”

Harvey asked him to call the water department to complain.

“They have several times,” Lightner said. “There is something wrong and it has to be fixed.”

Harvey asked the mayor to have someone look into it and she agreed.

Keith spoke to the council to update them on city activities.

She said that the new EPA-mandated regulations about mercury in the wastewater had taken effect and asked for public utility committee meeting to discuss the matter. One was set for 5 p.m. on Sept. 25.

In items on the agenda, the council passed contract agreements between the city and workers with AFSCME Local 771 and the city firefighters.

They also voted to pass an ordinance to vacate a portion of Locust Alley from Lawrence Street to Corn Alley.

They passed an ordinance that would have the city issue $180,000 in bonds to get new equipment for the police department including four 2018 Ford Taurus Interceptors, a 2018 Ford Explorer, and radios including mobile units, antennas and a repeater.

Three issues that dealt with repairs to storm systems on Orchard Street, the water rate increase and a water pollution control loan agreement between the city and the Ohio EPA and Ohio Water Development Authority for the building of a wastewater facility were tabled until another meeting.

The ordinance to hire an independent engineering firm to study the problem of flooding on the north end of town had a first reading.

The council voted to adopt an alternative tax budget for the fiscal 2018 was passed.

The Ironton City Council meets at 6 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month.