POMEROY — Aaron Oliphant became the newest member of the Pomeroy Village Council after his unanimous approval during Monday’s regularly scheduled meeting. His appointment filled the vacancy left by John Musser’s retirement.
The primary focus of the meeting were updates concerning improvements of Pomeroy’s water system.
Mayor Don Anderson stressed the importance of keeping the public informed of the 833 Sewer Expansion Project, and announced a public meeting was planned for Wednesday, March 4, at 7 p.m. in the Community Room of Farmer’s Bank in Pomeroy.
Engineer Mitch Altier and a member of the Meigs County Health Department will be at the meeting to answer questions, and a representative from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will address ways to help residents who need assistance with the cost of connecting to the new system.
The project received $3.7 million in funding awarded to Pomeroy last November by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Pomeroy is the first recipient of the H2Ohio Funds initiated by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine to ensure safe and clean water for all Ohioans.
Anderson said the project gives Pomeroy an opportunity to get into a public system, and that it will encourage growth in the Village.
“This expansion has a lot of benefits for our Village, it opens ground for new development, gives current residents and business an opportunity to connect to the system, and addresses EPA compliance issues. We are hoping for a good turnout (for the meeting),” said Anderson.
Altier announced the completion of Phase One of the 833 Sewer Extension project, saying the only item left was a pending Environmental Protection Agency inspection.
Opening of bids for Phase Two is expected to be held in March, with the the completion date of the project expected to be sometime in 2021. Higher than average rainfall in the area has put many road and water projects behind schedule.
“It’s difficult to give an exact date of completion,” Altier said. “The project is complex and involves many different agencies and contractors, and we also have to take the weather into consideration.”
The Village had requested bids for supplies and installation of new water meters, but only one was received.
That bid was for supplies and came from C.I. Thornburg Company. Since it was in line with the projected cost, the council approved the bid and stated they would be reopening bids for the installation at a later date.
The proposed new meters are expected to address issues relating to water leaks and inaccurate meter readings. According to data quoted by Altier, 75 percent of the meters are inaccurate by 25 percent (on the low side).
Anderson said the meters are designed to benefit the customer, “We always want the customers to have the benefit of a reading, never higher than it should read, but we do need a more accurate system.”
Funds to pay for the new meters have been secured by an interest free EPA loan, and Anderson stated Pomeroy expects to recover the cost with the additional revenue from accurate reading. He also said that the new system will allow better monitoring of leaks and greater accuracy in identifying their location for needed repairs.
“I know some people are going to be upset if their water bills go up, but everyone needs to remember that this isn’t an increase, the cost adjustments come from accurate readings,” said Anderson.
Funds in the amount of $2798.76 for necessary repairs to the Mulberry Pond walkways were approved, in addition to a not to exceed amount of $500 for materials to address bank erosion.
Council then made a motion to go into executive session to address the sale of property. They returned with no action taken.
Lorna Hart is a freelance writer for The Daily Sentinel.