By JIM MAURER
CAREY — Carey Council on Tuesday tabled an emergency ordinance to finance and allow the purchase and installation of an Eaton Cooper automated meter reading system for water and electric meters.
The village administration recommended the company after months of discussion, review and testing. The company bid about $879,456 for the work, which would take about 120 days to complete once the meters are received.
The legislation was tabled because only four council members were present. Five members are required to approve an emergency ordinance, which would be effective immediately. Council members Bob Steyer and Mellisa Cole were absent.
The administration wants to move ahead with the project.
“They have verbally committed that they are ready to start upon receipt of a village purchase order being issued,” village Administrator Roy Johnson said in a report to council.
As a result, council set a special meeting for 6 p.m. Monday to handle the meter legislation.
Council will also consider legislation concerning the wastewater treatment plant upgrade, for possibly financing the estimated $11.2 million project through the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund and/or the Ohio Water Development Authority.
The village is seeking a low-interest or zero-interest loan for the work.
It will be the second resolution related to the project. Council previously approved a resolution to cover design of the new plant, but there were no provisions included for seeking bids or for construction.
Separately, council approved a motion for B Hill’z Construction, Wayne, to replace the South Vance Street sanitary sewer lift station. The company’s bid of about $278,000 was the lowest of four bids received on Aug. 22.
Also, the Carey Fire Department received a safety grant from the Bureau of Workers Compensation to purchase an automated hose winding system for draining the larger-size hoses and avoiding possible firefighter back injuries. The village will pay about $2,191 of the $8,765 cost.
The 2019 health insurance rates for the village will increase 2.65 to 6.19 percent for its share of premiums. The village pays 85 percent and employees pay the remainder, but receive a 5 percent credit if they participate in the village’s wellness plan. There are 23 of 31 employees who participate in the wellness plan.
Separately, council and the administration held a lengthy discussion on the creation of a capital finance fund for various infrastructure projects throughout the village, from water tower repairs to water valve and waterline replacement. A priority list of projects could be reviewed annually.
With the water and electric meter replacement, now may be the time to consider an additional fee, officials said. The new meters are expected to generate additional revenue as more accurate readings will result in more accurate bills.
A $15 monthly fee would generate about $260,000 annually, Johnson said, while a $20 monthly fee would generate about $350,000 based on 1,440 water meters. The village water and sewer rates rank in the lower third statewide, based on an annual Ohio Environmental Protection Agency survey, he said.
Such a fund could be used to pay for a variety of infrastructure projects, depending on how council would word any legislation, Johnson said.
Meanwhile, Johnson said Van Horn Hoover Associates, a Findlay-based engineering firm, is working on plans for East South Street where a sinkhole was discovered recently. The sinkhole resulted in installation of a temporary fence for safety and to avoid further damage to cars parking in the area.
Separately, Johnson said by mid-September the county recycling center will no longer accept any type of plastic bags because there is no market for them. The bags have to be separated and taken to the county landfill.