Opinion and Comments
September 2, 2018
I recently received my water/sewer bill and it appears that the amount is nearly double for the same amount used last year. This is made me start questioning just how effective our water/sewer department is and how honest they have been with us. With recent rate increases and infrastructure breakdown and decay, a general observation is that the Water and Sewer Departments is in total chaos. This is being led by two groups (Board of Public Affairs and Village Council) that have deceived and misled the public for years. And with recent events it appears to be continuing. Let’s talk about a few.
- Water Main break.
This past spring, May 2018, a major water line break occurred near the Little league fields. As a result, the reservoirs drained and the village was without water for several days. How did this get so out of control with the complete emptying of the reservoir? The alarm system was upgraded in 2016 with a new reservoir to water plant alarm phone system. There should have been alarms sounding and notifications sent to on-call personnel through a pager system. Pager systems are used on relevant and important industrial complexes and one can not see how pager notification was not used on this major system.
- Rate increases.
The rates for water and sewage has doubled in recent years. It is attributed to a general need for more money and upgrades. Water rates was increased in 2016 with a 1.75% increase from $6.92 to $8.92 (Times-Leader 12/14/2016). Again in 2017 a rate increase of $1.75 was added for the water meter project (Times-Leader 1/10/2017). Early 2018, council tacked on additional fees before the two groups established new rates mid year. The specifics for the uses for the money have been not released.The base water rate for the village ($14.12) has surpassed that of Belmont County ($13.00).
The village used to maintain the sewers and water lines continuously. Department crews were observed working (and occasionally leaning on shovels) on maintenance projects for the water, sewage and storm drains. Frequently, they were seen on the streets doing this work. Now, it’s a mess. Crumbled streets related to shoddy work from local contractors. Storm drains falling apart. The village streets and alleys are running with water and crumbling.
Water lines are leaking and breaking throughout the village. Jefferson Avenue was hit hard this year with several breaks. Complaints by board members say that the water plant has deteriorated to new lows. Reports have been made that softener systems are non-functional and sewage systems have failed.