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Published: Thursday, 4/18/2002

Sewer work upsets Walbridge residents

Three Walbridge Village Council members and the mayor listened to residents from the northeast side of the village sound off last night about a sewer line renovation project that has torn up their yards.

The council lacked a quorum and could not take action.

Workers under contract to the Northwestern Water and Sewer District are installing a plastic sleeve inside a deteriorating 8-inch sewer line that runs through backyards.

Don Szepiela, a resident of Parkview Drive, said the crews left a hole 3 feet deep and 5 feet wide in his backyard.

Mr. Szepiela's neighbors complained of damaged fences and ruined shrubbery.

In a letter to council President Joann Schiavone, who was not at last night's meeting, the executive director of the water and sewer district acknowledged that the crews had been “sloppy and haphazard.”

In the letter, Jerry Greiner pledged that one of his inspectors would go door-to-door in advance of work “to assure the property owner(s) that we will maintain reasonable construction methods.”

Mayor Robert Robson said he would try to schedule a public meeting with water and sewer district officials for Wednesday.

Council members also heard a presentation from representatives of the Regional Income Tax Agency, a nonprofit group that collects taxes for municipalities.

Charles Hawk, a marketing specialist with the group, said RITA has 94 Ohio municipalities as clients. Last year's charges to them averaged 2 percent of collections.

Because Mr. Hawk didn't know how much Walbridge spent collecting its taxes, he could not say if RITA could save the village money by taking over the duties.

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