Middlebourne Water Rates To Increase by $11.50 Per Month
Middlebourne council was faced with a tough decision on Monday, Sept. 14, at their regular session of the common council.
Mayor Charlie DeLauder presented council with a copy of senate bill 234 which requires water and sewer boards to have one-eighth of their total operating budget available as cash reserve at all times. DeLauder said he hated to even bring it up and quite frankly he was very upset with the state over the issue.
DeLauder gave council copies of the 2015-16 water and sewer board budgets to the council. The budgets showed the water department would need an additional $23,552 to reach the state mandated one-eighth cash reserve of $33,467 that is required to be in the funds at all times. This requires an increase of eight dollars per month on the water bill. The sewer rates will have to be increased by $3.50 to reach it’s cash reserve of $31,875.
Council discussed other options they may have so as to not have to burden the residents with the increase. Councilman Mike Galluzzo asked if this would be a permanent increase or if it would be taken off once the reserve amount was reached. Mayor DeLauder said it would be removed once the state mandated reserve had been met. However he said if for any reason the town would need to use the funds the rate increase would be added back to the bills until the reserve is met.
All council members present said they would hope to find a way to avoid the increase, although they made note it was handed down from the State and they would have to comply. Galluzzo said he would hope once the reserve is met that the water and sewer board leave those funds in place and find other ways to cut expenses or pay for emergency repairs. Councilwomen Charlene Galluzzo made a motion to have the first reading of the ordinance to increase the rates, it was seconded by Councilwoman Vera Henthorn and passed unanimously. Absent from the meeting were Councilmen Dave Myers and Doug Doak.
Council held the third and final reading of the ordinance which allows non-citizens of Middlebourne to participate on the library board and the parks and recreation board.
The council unanimously passed the ordinance on a motion by Councilwoman Galluzzo and a second by Councilwoman Sue Pelikan.
Requests for street closing were approved for the Tyler County High School Alumni parade at 11 a.m. on Oct. 10, 2015. Streets to be closed include North, Underwood, Cherry, Park, Fair Street and Fair Avenue.
The Farmer’s Exchange was approved to close Fair Street and Broad Avenue on Oct. 3, for an auction at the Farmer’s Exchange for around four to six hours as they auction off surplus equipment and supplies.
Mark Riter was appointed by the council to fill a three year term on the Tyler County Library board following the resignation of Carol Ann Kucharski, which was also accepted. The term for Riter will be from 2015-2018.
Council held the first reading of an ordinance to purchase property for the north end of the walking trail, the property will be purchased for $6,000 and is for 1.42 acres, cost of the purchase will be split between the city and the park board. It was mentioned this will allow the town to complete the walking trail and will require a little work and a bridge to be built. It was agreed it would be a benefit to the citizens. The motion to proceed with the purchase was approved unanimously.
Trick or Treat was set for Thursday, Oct. 29, from 6-7 p.m.
DeLauder reported he had attended on a source water protection program and mandatory flood plain training in Wellsburg on Aug. 26 – 27. The meeting were sponsored by Rural Water. He said he believed the source water protection is going to take up a lot of time between now and December. He said they are required to have a new plan in place by July 1, 2016. The cost to the state is approximately one and a half million dollars. He said the customers must bear the cost of the town.
Council approved appointments of a source water protection team consisting of Mayor DeLauder, Councilman Dave Myers, Sue Pelikan, Brian Wiley, Matt Lamp, Jeff Watson, Tom Cooper, O.E.M. Director, Mark Hawkins, county sanitarian, Bill Jenkins , water board member, Tena Lemasters and John Farhatt.
DeLauder said the last Bands on Broad was very well attended with over 140 people participating and local groups selling food averaged about $200 per event. He also reported the town is in the process of painting curbs and removing the excess grass and weeds from these areas. He said they are spraying the streets that have grass growing through them in hopes it will prevent potholes in the future.
The town has purchased the materials to replace the water line along Sellers road and it will be done in the near future. DeLauder said they had received a check from FEMA for the damage to this water line.
Council will hold it’s next meeting on Oct. 5, at 7 p.m.