CAREY — Carey Council on Monday approved a motion of its intent to award Peterson Construction Co., Wapakoneta, the contract to rebuild the village’s wastewater treatment plant.

The company’s construction bid of $10.03 million was the lowest of three bids opened last week. Construction was estimated at $10 million.

Council’s action will allow legislation to award the contract to be considered at the April 15 council meeting.

During an hour-long discussion, council was able to ask questions and get an explanation about funding the long-term project.

Total project cost will be more than $14.54 million, including the demolition of the existing plant, with the only remaining portions being the laboratory and office; soil borings; a new Vactor truck for cleaning out sewer lines; a new sludge press; contingency funds and design costs.

The village will fund the improvements with half-percent income tax money earmarked for sewer improvements. The fund has a balance of more than $4 million, and additional funds will be deposited before the village begins repayment.

The project will upgrade the plant to meet Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for phosphorus discharge, and replace outdated equipment. The plant will be better able to handle increased water flows during wet weather, too.

The village is awaiting approval from the Ohio Water Development Authority/Water Pollution Control Fund for zero to about 1 percent interest loans to finance the project.

Repayment will be done twice annually for 20 years. The village won’t begin repayment until the project is done. If financing is approved in May, construction is expected to begin in June or July and take about two years to finish.

As long as the project is underway before next year, the village will avoid potential fines from the EPA.

“… We realize this is a huge commitment for the village, due to the new regs (regulations), and we want council to be comfortable with the need for the improvements,” said village Administrator Roy Johnson. “We have involved our (plant) operators in the process all the way through design, and they are satisfied this is the best path to compliance as well.”

Separately, council heard village personnel discuss enforcement of cemetery regulations for grave decorations, excessive landscaping, and items being placed on the foundation or headstone against regulation guidelines. Exceptions allow flags for Memorial Day and grave blankets/wreaths at Christmas. The flags are reused and the other materials are removed when weather conditions allow, Johnson said in his report to council.

“Each new deed for a lot purchase since 2008 has included a copy of the cemetery regulations,” he said.

“What we are looking for here is the backing of council for this action,” he said. “Even though it is part of the rules, when we enforce it, someone is going to get upset and invariably contact the mayor or a council member. Our people need to know we have your backing to move forward.”

Signs listing the regulations will be installed at the cemetery entrances and inside the property.

Johnson also informed council of plans to purchase equipment and software to digitize utility maps for use as reference and making changes easier when necessary.

Water distribution, fire hydrants and valves, sewer collection system, stormwater and electric distribution would be included in the computerization. The action would allow employees to print and save drawings and make adjustments easily, he said.

The estimated cost has declined about half, from $12,000 two years ago to slightly over $6,000 now, Johnson said. “In my opinion, this is now considered affordable.”

Council gave verbal approval.

Council also held an executive session “to consider the compensation of a public employee.”

Maurer: 419-427-8420

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