SALEM – Perry Township residents wanting to apply for city sewer service will not be hampered by a necessity to annex.
Councilman Dennis Groves, chair of the utilities committee, said Tuesday he has heard from Utilities Commission Chairman Geoff Goll, who reportedly indicated the commission would follow the decision of council on the issue.
Further, in a written opinion, City Law Director Brooke Zellers said the contract, which was part of the fire district agreement, is valid until August.
“It is my understanding that there is now a legal opinion that agreed the contract is valid and the utilities commission cannot turn down requests because they do not request annexation,” Perry Township Trustee Larry Parker reaffirmed before council.
Parker, who spoke before council three weeks ago and also participated in the last meeting of the utilities committee on the issue, said he appreciated the cooperation of the committee and other involved.
At this point, Groves said only two applications have been obtained from the utilities department for applying for sewer tap-ins from the township and neither application has been filled out and returned.
The township plans to hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. May 22 with those residents in certain neighborhoods petitioning for sewer services. That meeting will include a representative from the county engineer’s office, who will explain what the prospective engineering for the projects will include.
Trustees had been concerned that without acknowledgment from the city, those township residents planning to create new sewer projects and connect them to the city lines upon completion would be unable to go forward with the projects. As it stands, applications for the new tap-ins will have to be made to the city by August in order to be accepted.
In other issues with the utilities department, Utilities Superintendent Don Weingart spoke before the committee prior to council Tuesday letting them know about an upcoming contract for sludge hauling that will need to be bid out this September. The current contract ends in November. Weingart told council it is more economical to bid the sludge pressing and hauling.
Later during the council meeting, Weingart also talked about the utilities department’s plan to apply for an Ohio 594 grant through the U.S. Corps of Engineers, which pays for 75 percent of the project, leaving a 25 percent match locally. Several possible upcoming expensive projects that will be applied for participation are a 1.5 million-gallon equalization tank for the wastewater treatment plant, which costs $9 million; the Snyder Road sanitary sewer stem, $1.8 million; and a project to reduce infiltration, $800,000. The $9 million project has been a concern of the EPA and may be required of the city at some point.
The next meeting of the utilities commission is set for 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 13 in council chambers.