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Sewer, water top priorities for new year of South Point council

SOUTH POINT — Two new members of village council were sworn in Tuesday night in South Point, as officials made plans for the coming year’s business.

Marlene Arthur and Bill Patrick were administered the oath of office at the meeting before taking their seats on the governing body. Incumbents Mary Cogan and Chris Smith were also sworn in for new terms.

Mayor Jeff Gaskin said the main focus of the meeting was overdue sewage bills, especially on homes located outside of village limits.

“We need to revamp our collection process,” he said. “We need to get to people before they owe is $1,000. More needs to be done to collect sooner.”

The village has recently turned off service for those within village limits who owe larges balances of $1,000 or more.

Gaskin said this is easier, because all that’s needed is to turn off water. But for those outside of village limits who rely on the sewer system, he said workers have to dig up lines and install a valve, which costs about $400.

He said there was discussion as to whether new construction outside village limits would be required to have a valve in place.

Gaskin said the council also discussed the village’s aging water system.

“The pipes are 60 years old and are made of concrete,” he said. “That was state-of-the-art in 1957, but in 2018, that’s not case. We need to come up with a plan to replace our aging infrastructure.”

Gaskin said the sewer lines are in good shape and the village is operating “in the black.”

He also touted $20,000 the village had spent on lighting improvements, which he said have already paid for themselves in electricity savings. He said he expects comparable savings when water improvements are made.

Gaskin also gave an update on new playground equipment for the village’s park, which was purchased with a grant repurposed from abandoned plans for a spray park.

Gaskin said the new playground pieces, which are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, have arrived and been assembled and will be installed when weather permits.

“As soon as we get a few days above freezing, we can begin to pour concrete,” he said. “All we need to do is plant them in the ground.”

He said once the pieces, as well as new benches, are installed, a border will be constructed around the new playground and mulch will be installed.

The mayor also gave an update on the village’s plan to purchase land next to White Cottage Cemetery on Solida Road.

The land is being purchased for $25,000 so the cemetery, which is maintained by the village, can be expanded.

Gaskin said the plan is for 25-30 new lots to be sold to those who want to be buried within village limits and the plan is for the village to earn money back from the sales.

He said the village would have the title to the land next to the cemetery sometime next week.

The next meeting of South Point’s council is set for Feb. 6 at 7:30 p.m.