By JIM MAURER
Hancock County commissioners approved a resolution Tuesday to charge a dollar-per-parcel maintenance assessment for the Blanchard River Stream Enhancement Project.
The fee will be collected on 2019 real estate tax bills, for properties in the Blanchard River watershed.
The assessment will generate about $55,000 a year for a fund to assist with continued river maintenance, similar to assessments on county-approved ditch maintenance projects.
The money will add to an existing maintenance account which has a balance of about $17,000, the commissioners said.
The commissioners’ action follows a recent vote approving the assessment by county commissioners in the six counties within the river’s watershed: Hancock, Hardin, Putnam, Wyandot, Seneca and Allen.
Several river maintenance projects have been done in recent years.
The maintenance project will include the removal of logjams, downed trees, woody debris, cutting of leaning trees and trees “obstructing the normal flow of water,” according to the legal bid notice.
Separately, the commissioners continued a public hearing on an amendment to a petition for a drainage line in the Western Meadows subdivision, between Hancock County 88 (West Sandusky Street) and Ohio 12 (West Main Cross Street).
In June, a hearing on the petition was held, but the hearing was continued when Dale Schimmoeller proposed that the outlet line be extended down West Sandusky Street (County Road 88) “to benefit all in the watershed.”
An explanation of the amendment was presented at a public hearing last month, and Tuesday was the first opportunity for public comment on the amendment.
Doug Cade, assistant Hancock County engineer, said the extension of the drainage line down Hancock County 88 would cost an estimated $807,300, plus an additional $80,730 for contingency funds.
The original petition, filed by Philip Ridenour, sought to have an outlet line built from Nevada Lane, on the northern edge of the subdivision, to the area of Ohio 12 and Hancock County 140. The line is needed because of a crushed drainage tile in the area.
The outlet line would prevent flooded streets in the subdivision, health concerns over standing water and sanitary sewer issues, and property damage to residences and roads, he has said.
Cade estimated the original project cost, without the West Sandusky Street extension, at about $270,000, plus $40,000 for engineering and the 10 percent contingency.
If the commissioners decided to do both portions of the project, the cost would be more than $1.1 million and 118 parcels would be assessed, plus a maintenance fee.
Eight people spoke against the amendment Tuesday, stating it is unnecessary since other work has been done in the subdivision which has handled the water problems in recent months.
However, it was noted that there have not been the heavy rains experienced last summer.
No one spoke in favor of the amendment.
The commissioners had the choice to continue the hearing or accept/deny the amendment. They voted to continue the matter for 30 days to provide time to hear from additional people and to meet with the prosecutor’s and engineer’s office about the issue.