Rocky Ridge residents concerned about their wells drying up may no longer have to worry once the village constructs a water distribution system.
Village council recently agreed that it was necessary to install a water supply system that links the village with the water system in Carroll Township, which is only a mile away from the Ottawa County village.
"We're getting water in the village so people won't have to use wells or have water hauled in," Clerk-Treasurer Brenda Goetz said. "It's been talked about and looked at off and on for the last few years."
To pay for the water line's engineering and construction costs, she said that the council approved charging the same amount to each improved village property - meaning land where there is a building - regardless of if it's occupied.
Beginning in July, residents will get their first monthly water charge of $36.34. Once the water line is installed, Ms. Goetz said those who have paid the monthly fee will not be charged to tap into the water system.
She said the village will be applying for state and federal grants in the fall and have applied for a planning loan through the Ohio Water Development Authority to pay for the $2.5 million water line.
Village officials have been talking about a water system for years, and paid Poggemeyer Design Group Inc. of Bowling Green $4,750 in 2002 to conduct a feasibility study.
Ms. Goetz said Poggemeyer officials said it would be best to get water from Carroll Township, so the village hired Feller, Finch, & Associates of Maumee to oversee the project. So far, she said Rocky Ridge officials have paid them $5,000 to update Poggemeyer's design because more homes have been built, bringing the total number of homes in the village to about 200.
Some village residents have been treating their water with chemicals or trucking water to their homes for years. But there are others whose well water tastes fine and requires no special treatment, so residents have mixed feelings about the system. Some are relieved that their water concerns will be alleviated, while others said they now have new financial concerns.
Trina Smith, 43, said that while she appreciated that everyone will be assessed the same amount, she feels that the water line is unnecessary because her well water looks and tastes fine.
"We just built our home, so that's another added expense on top of us right now," the West Woodside Drive resident said. "When you're still paying for something, you don't want another added expense."
But Sandra Goff, 1456 North Main St., said she doesn't mind paying the fee because she'll save money on her water softener and salt. "I want the water," she said. "My property value will go up and my well won't run dry and I won't have to pay for the water softener."
Although his water also tastes OK, resident Roy Kruse said he knows of others whose water "smells like rotten eggs."
"I know it has to be done," the West Second Street resident said, "and that's what they gotta do."
Village officials are looking for residents who are interested in being a part of the water distribution system's governing body. Those who are interested can apply for a seat on the village's board of public affairs, which will govern all aspects of the water system separate from council, Ms. Goetz said.
With the council's approval, the mayor will appoint a three-person board, where one person will serve a two-year term, and two people will serve four-year terms. According to law, the positions must then become elected positions.
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