Paden City Looking to Clean Up Water Problems
Mayor Ken Stead began Paden City’s March 5 council meeting by informing attendees that Paden City is having some serious water issues, and the city is trying to correct those issues on a very thin budget. He continued to explain the city has been dispensing brown water. He said the water has been tested and is acceptable to drink. The problem is the tanks have been running close to empty due to the fact the telemetry system is beginning to fail. Paden City is working with Thrasher Engineering to get an updated water system, but this will be a very costly project. If the projected $5 million project goes through, there will have to be another water rate increase to help cover the costs of the project. Mayor Stead added, “We are not looking for blame, we are looking for solutions.”
Some residents spoke out against the water rate increase and the possible addition of water meters. One resident stated his bill has been increased $50 in the last 10 years, and it took 30 years previously to increase by that much. He suggested council look into spending limits and requested a roll call vote. It was explained to the resident that municipal rates and sewer rates have raised, but water has not been raised in 10 years.
Another resident was upset with city workers; the resident claimed workers broke the sewer line in his yard. He said city workers were at his home to fix a water line, and in the process, they accidentally broke the sewer line. This caused sewage to flow into his basement which created approximately $24,000 in damages.
The resident felt the occurrence was an accident, but when he contacted the city over the sewer leak, he felt there was a delay in the city’s response.
It was also noted the resident’s sump pump did not work during the sewer leak.
Both parties agreed to finish the conversation after the council meeting.
Some residents mentioned brown water that has been coming from their faucets. Mayor Stead said the water was safe for consumption, and there have been false rumors spread on Facebook about the condition of the water. Stead explained the color was from rust and sediment that has built up and gets dispensed when the water tanks get too low. He suggested people drain the dark water through an outside faucet until the water clears. Stead stated, “It’s not going to go away until we get the system changed… the system is at fault.” He added the city will be flushing hydrants more often in an attempt to clear out the sediment. Mayor Stead also suggested residents add their phone numbers to their water bills, so they may be contacted through the Code Red notification system.
It was reported that Thrasher Engineering was chosen as the engineering firm selected to build the new water system in Paden City. Mayor Stead commented, “We are starting from scratch” by building a new telemetry system, changing of lines, and the rebuilding of tanks. He added meters will be installed with the new system, and there will be a water rate increase as well. He also mentioned the city doesn’t have the right equipment to do the work themselves. The Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Council will also be aiding in the funding of the projects.
The second reading of the current water rate increase of $3.12 passed unanimously. The rate increase will be applied on the April 20 water bill.
Also, at the meeting, it was noted the city has received a notice of violation from the Department of Environment Protection in which the city had so many days to respond. It was decided to inform the DEP that the project will be breaking ground soon, therefore fixing the violation.
The topic of selling the Paden City baseball fields to the Wetzel County Board of Education was presented again to council members. There is a city ordinance stating that city property can not be sold without the consent of city council. Council members explained if the water plant, or any other existing facilities, did not want to sell their section of the property then the plan would fail. The BOE does not want to invest funds in property that it does not own. Council suggested finding alternate ways of obtaining money without selling the property. It was suggested the property be leased to the BOE without actually selling the property. The Paden City Street Department has fixed its dump truck, so city workers will begin patching some of the pot holes around town. The department will begin with the worst case scenarios. Also, Josh Billiter was given commendation on the good work he had done filling in a sink hole.The Paden City Fire Department reported that for the month of February, there was one structure fire, two motor vehicle accidents, four EMS assistance responses, two service calls, two mutual aid cases; the department also assisted with the rock slide blocking Route 2.
The Paden City Police Department referenced a letter of resignation of one of its dispatchers. Police Chief Bob Kendle requested he be allowed to interview other candidates from the hiring pool as he felt there were other qualified candidates. Kendle also reported that he is in need of a new vehicle. He said his cruiser is becoming rusted and is getting high on mileage.
Kim Frum and Melissa Thorn were approved as ballot commissioners for the June 7 election.
There will be a public hearing on March 19 to amend the charter that states the city recorder be an elected position.
The next Paden City council meeting is scheduled for April 2, beginning at 7 p.m. and located at the city building in Paden City.