West Milton Council approves water, sewer increases for new customers

By Matt Clevenger

For the Miami Valley Today

WEST MILTON — Members of the West Milton Village Council have approved several increases to water and sewer rates for new customers, including increased service connection fees and administrative fees for purchasing new meters.

Council members approved the rate increases under two separate ordinances during their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 14. Both ordinances required public hearings, which were also held at the same meeting.

One of the ordinances will add a one-time administrative fee of 15% for the purchase of new meters. The other ordinance will restructure fees for new customers, with some increases.

“This is an ordinance that simplifies and increases some of the charges for new customers,” Municipal Manager D. Jeffrey Sheridan said.

Council members also heard an update on a planned water and sewer rate study.

“I think it’s really important that we have those utilities studied,” Sheridan said. “And we determine if we’re generating enough revenue moving forward and also look at the impact of the growth we anticipate.”

“I think that data will be very important to us as we’re planning to grow that infrastructure,” he said.

The studies are expected to cost approximately $13,600 altogether. “They don’t have to travel, so they got the price down,” Sheridan said.

In other business, council members also approved the appointment of Jessica Stein as the village’s new municipal clerk and made plans to interview six applicants for nine current openings on the village’s planning board and the board of adjustments. Council members are still looking for additional candidates to fill the remaining empty seats.

Council members also approved $37,510.25 of additional costs associated with the village’s annual paving program. Council approved the village’s original $201,794 contract with Wagner Paving for the annual paving program in May of 2021; the additional costs are mainly associated with extra work that had to be done on Hamilton Street.

Council members also approved a third contract change order from VTF Excavating, for the Ludlow Falls Sanitary Sewer project.

“The municipality has received a third contract change order in the amount of $66,147 due to a change in the installation method of a 6-inch forced main along State Route 48,” Village Law Director Lenee Brosch said.

The project’s original contract was for $2,693,037.79, and council members have already approved two contract change orders totaling $98,275.46.

“I want to thank Manager Sheridan for spending time with me to make sure that he went over in more detail than I expected why we need this change order,” council member Greg Tracy said. “I just wanted to make sure we were forthcoming with why we’re spending the money, and being more specific.”

Council members also approved several changes to the village’s procedures for water backflow preventers, including the use of village employees to test backflow preventers.

“The backflow preventer is primarily to make sure no contamination gets into the system,” Sheridan said. “Since we’re responsible for the system, one of our guys should be inspecting it.”

The average cost of an inspection is approximately $100, plus a $20 administrative fee.

“Up until now, the municipality did not have an employee qualified to perform the tests on backflow prevention devices,” Sheridan said.

“If we do it ourselves, then there’s no fee for administration,” he said. “If citizens take advantage of our employee, then it saves them a few dollars. “

Council members also heard updates on the village’s current code enforcement sweep and two new pet waste stations that will be installed in the downtown and North Main Street areas. “As soon as those come in, they will be installed,” Sheridan said. “We ordered two more; we’re going to be placing one downtown and one on North Main Street.”

“We now have 59 complaints,” he said of the code enforcement sweep. “We’ve been able to resolve about 30% of them.”

Council members are also considering additional penalties for “habitual offenders.

“Right now, we’ve got at least one entity that plays the system,” Sheridan said. “I give them notice; they’ve got two weeks, they get a second notice; that gives them two weeks. It gets mowed, and then it’s too tall again, and they start all over again.”

Council member Sarah Copp also announced two upcoming downtown events.

“This Thursday, we have Third Thursday coming up,” Capp said. “We have six food trucks coming down to the big parking lot; El Diablo Grill, Dennis Del brick oven pizza and ice crem, Pa’s kettle corn, The Claiborne Grill, and any-style hot dogs. Buckeye Burgers will be there.

“It should be fun,” she said. “We have a really good selection coming, and then we also have a band coming from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Deja Blue.”

Village council’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 28 in the municipal building.