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Published: Tuesday, 3/15/2005

City, Berkey discussing terms of water pact

Kevin and Myndi Milliken say that when they bought their home on the west side of Berkey in 2003, they did so with the assurance that public water service soon would be coming.

But under preliminary plans that local leaders are discussing with Toledo officials about piping city water to the village, service wouldn't reach the Millikens.

"One of the main reasons we moved to Berkey was under the verbal promise and expectation that 'water is coming' to solve the collective problems faced by the entire community," the couple wrote in a letter they submitted to the Village Council last night.

Village Council met last night with Toledo representatives to talk about the water project and the extent to which the city might inject itself into village affairs if it supplies water.

Barbara Herring, the city law director, assured the audience of about a dozen people that the only purpose of a joint economic development zone in the village would be to allow Toledo to share in the benefit if new businesses come to Berkey after water becomes available. Toledo and Berkey would split the revenue from such businesses if the village passed an income tax.

Ms. Herring said the only power Toledo will have in the village is to decide not to allow new taps to the water system if development occurs that is not consistent with Berkey's land-use plan. It will be up to Berkey officials to determine the village's future development course, she said.

As to where the pipes actually go, she said, that's also a decision village council would make. Mayor Barbara Huff said the main factors in choosing the service area are cost and immediate need.

Building a system to serve Berkey and properties along the route that water pipes would take to get there from Sylvania is expected to cost $2 million, with each house along the line to be assessed an estimated $12,396 - payable over 30 years with no interest charge under the proposed agreement with Toledo. Usage would be billed on a quarterly basis, with a minimum charge of about $37.50.

Mrs. Huff noted that of 107 surveys sent out to residents about their desire for public water, the 53 that came back were almost equally divided: 26 in favor, 23 opposed, and four undecided.



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