BY ED PARSONS
Tim Meeks of the Mid Ohio Valley Regional Council, along with representatives from Thrasher Engineering, appeared before Paden City Council Monday to update city officials on the status of the next stage of the ongoing sewer project. Thrasher Engineering went over the scope of the sewer project by informing council what has been found since work started in the city a year ago.
They said there are massive amounts of water entering the sewer system. There are leaks in many of the manholes and when there are hard rains and major storms, they contribute to the amount of overflow the sewer plant takes in. The plant is set up to handle around 600,000 gallons a day, but after major storms it often has an overflow of over two million gallons of water.
Flow meters have been used all over town and with the flow meters, smoke testing and cameras have been able to identify a lot of problem areas. They indicated the largest problems seem to be in the southeast end of town. Testing has shown a lot of standing water in the manholes but no overflow. There are sewer lines which need to be replaced and also storm drains. The largest problems are near Sturgeon Alley, Madison St., Monroe St., and Pollock St. Fifth and Sixth Avenues are also problem areas. Also, there will need to be storm line and sewer line replacements in the problem areas.
Meeks said the sanitary board is aware of the problems and they are staying in contact with them and have met to exchange ideas. "The city is looking at around a $3.5 million project," he said. "There is grant money available from the USDA, but it is limited to around $6 million dollars for the whole state, so the sooner the city approves the project, the easier it will be to get the money since all the towns and cities are competing for it."
"The most that is available for each city is $500,000, so if you are approved you would still need to borrow around $2.9 million," added Meeks.
He said to qualify for the loans the city must first raise their sewer rates about $12 per month, which would put the city in the guidelines established for the loan approval. The loan rates are three percent for 30 years and 3.75 percent for 38 years.
Meeks said the sooner you get started, the better it will be for you. "You would then be able to show the DEP you are pro-active in working to correct the problem," he said.
"You could phase in your rate increase as many of the cities do," Meeks added. He said it could be passed as an automatic increase every so often to avoid getting hit all at once. He mentioned Pennsboro as an example of being fined somewhere around $90,000 as an example of what happens when you are non-compliant and the DEP checks your system.
It was mentioned that Trasher Engineering was working well with the city and the sewer board and that they should also work with City Water Superintendent Clifford Duke to identify problem areas which he may know about. Mayor Hopkins advised to put the sewer increase discussion on the agenda for the next regular council meeting on April 7. Meeks told council to take a look at the rates of the surrounding communities which he said are around $47, mentioning New Martinsville, Sistersville, St. Mary', and Middlebourne. He said Paden City is the lowest.
Council also had the first reading of an ordinance change for certified part-time police officers. The change will raise the pay scale from $11 per hour to $13.50. The motion passed by unanimous vote of council. Council also approved the hiring of three part-time certified police officers and a school crossing guard for the elementary school.
On a motion by Tom Trader and a second by Dan Probst, council unanimously approved running in the county papers, for two weeks, a notice of a public hearing to be held on April 15 at 5 p.m. on the proposed increase in the municipal rate.
Council also unanimously approved the advertisement for a full-time maintenance worker and to set April 29, 5 p.m., for interviews for the position.
Approval was granted for Utility Clerk Julie Efaw to attend a "Utility Office Worker Seminar" in Beckley, W.Va.
Council unanimously approved the 2014-2015 Fiscal Year Budget in the amount of $723,905.
Mayor John Hopkins said Panhandle Cleaning has requested to set a 30-foot roll off on the 200 block of south Third Avenue to allow them to clean up a fire damaged home. There was discussion concerning parking problems the home owners may have because of limited parking space. Also there was talk about safety and property damage which could occur. It was suggested that the city draw up a contract limiting the company to using the roll off on the street for one week.
A meeting to lay the levy will be held on April 15, 5 p.m., followed by the public hearing on the rate increase. he next regularly scheduled council meeting will be April 7 at 7 p.m.