EAST PALESTINE - The project to replace a century-old water tank that holds the village's primary water supply moved forward this week.
Council this week approved contracting with Gateway Tank for the Wheathill Reservoir project that began taking shape in 2008 after an order from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.
Citing health and safety concerns the agency had initially ordered the village to replace the 19- by 50-foot tank's flexible cover roof with a solid roof in the early 2000s but decided within the last year that the entire tank should be replaced instead.
Council members debated earlier this year whether to replace the 275,000-gallon above-ground tank or have it rehabilitated. Replacing was estimated to cost little more than $500,000, with a rehab estimated at roughly $200,000. The decision to replace the tank was reached in April by a 4-2 vote.
Contracting with Gateway for the tank's replacement was approved unanimously this week and the village will pay the company $478,669. It was the lowest of two bids received, with the other at $532,000 from Marucci and Gaffney Excavating.
The contract was passed as emergency legislation, which means it will take effect immediately. Councilman Fran Figley said residents should know why it was considered an emergency.
Council members had previously said they didn't like for legislation to be passed as an emergency and believed it was being done too often.
Village Solicitor Shirley Smith said legislation is made an emergency when it is related to the health, welfare and safety of residents and that the reservoir project falls under these guidelines as it is a public water supply.
The EPA has labeled the reservoir a "significant deficiency" because it does not meet 10 state standards. Violations include the poor condition of the roof and the inability to perform an inspection of the brick structure.
The village already has more than $200,000 available in the form of a grant and $248,000 in the form of a 20-year, zero interest loan through the Ohio Public Works Commission for the project.
The project is anticipated to be completed by the end of this year.
In other business, council also approved selling the 1983 Chevy Truck and confirming the appointment of Kevin Dickey as chief of police. Dickey was promoted from acting chief to chief on Sept. 25 and his salary is set at $53,206.