St. Paris Council approves water rate increase

By Nick Walton -

ST. PARIS – Council approved a water rate increase during Monday’s regular meeting.

The amended ordinance for the water/wastewater rate change stated the financial status of the water and/or wastewater funds find itself in need of increasing its present rates for water and/or wastewater to meet current or future capital improvements as well as cover operating, maintenance and repair costs while maintaining a positive net revenue.

The amendment states the rate based on water meter reading for each thousand gallons of water will be increased from $4.05 to $8.10. The rate for each thousand gallons of wastewater treated based on the reading of the water meter will remain at $7.35.

The rates will be charged to each and every customer based solely on their consumption and there shall be no minimum charge.

The amendment also states the proceeds of the water and wastewater rates, surcharges, penalties or other charges as applicable are to be used to operate facilities, construct, reconstruct, upgrade, relocate, replace, repair and maintain water and wastewater service.

Prior to council’s vote, residents were given an opportunity to voice their opinions on the amendment.

When asked about the increase, Mayor Joe Reneer noted the village had the lowest water and sewer rates in the county between the four major towns in Champaign County.

“If we go to the $8.10 that will put us just barely above Urbana,” Reneer said. “Urbana right now is third in Champaign County. North Lewisburg is the most expensive, followed by Mechanicsburg, followed by Urbana, then us – going to $8.10 a unit for water will put us at $200 a year more than Urbana and they do not soften their water.”

Council voted unanimously to approve the amendment 5-0. Council member Niven Jester was not present at the meeting.

Earlier in the meeting, Village Administrator Joe Sampson shared a legal notice for a new water treatment plant that was advertised on June 1 and was scheduled to run again on Thursday. He said bid opening will be held on June 22.

Council holds moment of silence for Dever

During the mayor’s notes portion of the meeting, council held a moment of silence for BJ Dever, who passed away on Sunday.

“She was involved in so many things for this village and with this as far as Christmas in the Village, Pony Wagon Days, the farmer’s market, Our Town St. Paris, she was planting the flowers just a couple weeks ago down in the buckets along downtown,” Reneer said. “Countless times she has helped the village out with putting things in The Booster and the countless times she has helped out with numerous different things.”

Following the moment of silence, Reneer said there are things the village might do in memory of Dever and former council member Larry Watkins, who passed away in July 2016.

Street levy

Council approved a resolution to place a street levy renewal levy on the November ballot.

The purpose of the 2.5 mill levy is for general construction, reconstructions, resurfacing and repair of streets for a period five years and is a renewal of an existing levy of 2.5 mills.

Earlier in the meeting, Sampson informed council about 2017 street projects the village is looking at.

“We’re bidding three projects: one is High Street from Main to Troy, one is Troy Street from High to Springfield and one is Walnut Street from Springfield East to around the 200 block,” Sampson said. “We’ve gotten one bid in so far and I’ve been reluctant to tell you what those bids are because we don’t have the other bids in yet so it’s unfair to publish those numbers until we get the others.”

Sampson said he found out the village is going to be more into the projects than what they have money for and asked for council’s permission to contact the county engineer to request permissive motor vehicle license money. Council approved this request.

Wage committee

Sampson asked council to consider forming a wage committee to address pay raises. He said for the last couple of employees the village has hired and given raises to, there have been questions about wages.

“What I’d like to do is to put a couple people on council or however many to set up a wage committee that we can address some of these wages to be put down on paper so there’s no question we can look at it once every couple of years to say ‘this particular position opens up at this particular cost or price and over the course of the year here’s where it limits out’ so we have that all in writing so we don’t have those questions anymore,” Sampson said. “A water/sewer guy comes in he knows exactly what he’s starting for without a question through council.”

Council members Terry Ervin II and Gary Doeden volunteered to work with Sampson to get started on this effort.

Police report

During the safety committee portion of the meeting, Doeden provided a summary of police activity from May.

Doeden said there were five OVIs, 31 citations, 67 traffic stops and 13 arrests.

Reneer referenced a vehicle crash involving three children last week. He said the Urbana Fire Division provided a car seat for a two-year-old while St. Paris Police Chief Kristopher Cosme provided car seats for the other children.

“Chief on his own time and with his money he went out and he purchased car seats for those kids so they could have them because they got damaged,” Reneer said.

Later in the meeting, council unanimously approved a holiday pay policy for village police officers.

The policy states full-time officers will receive holiday pay at their regular rate if they do not work on a village approved holiday. Full-time officers will receive time and one half of their regular pay if they work on a village approved holiday.

Part-time officers will receive time and one half of their regular hourly pay if they work on a village approved holiday.

In other action:

•A budget hearing meeting was scheduled for July 3 at 7 p.m. prior to the regular council meeting.

•Ervin said the planning commission met June 1 and in the future is going to look at the way wind and solar energy is zoned and permitted. He encouraged anyone with input or an opinion on the subject to attend the next few meetings or contact him. The next meeting is scheduled for Aug. 3 at the municipal building, 135 W. Main St., unless there is urgent business then the meeting would be moved up to July 6.

•The American Legion St. Paris Post 148 will meet at 7 p.m. on June 14 at the municipal building, 135 W. Main St.

By Nick Walton

Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.

Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.