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Published: Wednesday, 10/20/2004

Delta: Water sale offered by Wauseon

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

DELTA - Wauseon is offering to sell water to the village so Delta won't need to build a water treatment plant.

Wauseon is putting together charts, graphs, and data to present to Delta officials, said Jeffrey Robinson, Wauseon's law director.

"We hope the village will consider doing this," he said about the water offer. Details are still being worked out on the plan and its costs, he said.

During their meeting earlier this week, Delta council members scheduled a special meeting at 7 p.m. Monday in the municipal building to listen to the proposal.

Mr. Robinson said that the city was approached by a Delta official about the possibility of Wauseon selling water to the village. Some Delta council members, as well as other residents in the village, have raised concerns about the cost to build a $6 million water treatment plant.

Cathy Buehrer, who was recently named to council to fill a vacancy caused when Councilman Helen Jones died, said that council shouldn't proceed with voting on a water rate increase to help pay for the project until other options are reviewed, including the Wauseon offer.

She said that council members are "messing with a lot of lives and messing with a lot of money" when it comes to the decision on the water project, and that council should take time to make sure they make the right decision for the community.

To tell water customers that their rates are going to triple in eight years is a huge doing, she said.

Water rates haven't increased in 10 years, said Councilman Frank Wilton. Councilman Allan McQuillin said that if the proposed rates are imposed, Delta's rates won't be out of line with rates charged in surrounding communities.

Some residents have suggested that the village should look at other options before proceeding with the new plant, but former council member Dick Beehner said during the meeting that council has been working on this for years, and that studies have been conducted.

Councilman Jerry Edwards said that he wouldn't vote to buy water from Wauseon because he favors local control, and Mr. Wilton said that he feels that a new water treatment plant project is the best way to go.

Although Mrs. Buehrer said that council should delay voting on the rate increase until after hearing Wauseon's proposal, council proceeded with the second of three readings. The vote was 4-2. Mrs. Buehrer and Marcy LeFevre voted no.

Under the proposed ordinance, water rates in Delta would go up 8.7 percent annually for seven years. The increase for the first year, however, amounts to about a 20 percent increase, said Gary Baker, village administrator, or about $3.50 per month for the average user because the minimum usage amount would change to 100 cubic feet rather than 200 cubic feet, he said. The average monthly bill is about $17.

Bids for Delta's proposed water treatment plant improvements recently came in at about $4.1 million, about $180,000 under the first round of bids. The engineer's estimate for those improvements is $4.6 million, with the total project cost at about $6 million. The village is seeking a $6 million loan for the project.

Earlier this year, Delta received approval from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for plans to build a water treatment plant that would be the first of its kind in the state.

The new plant would feature a system that uses microfiltration and reverse osmosis technologies.

The project is being pursued in an effort to comply with federal and state guidelines for combined sewer overflows. Other communities across Ohio are facing similar projects to meet EPA guidelines.



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