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Washington County Commission increases sewer rates

The Washington County Commission increased sewer rates for 2020 and 2021 $3 per month during Thursday’s meeting.

Sewer rates are currently $70 per month and need increased to fund current sewer issues, not including the upcoming Devola sewer project.

“There will be a significant increase with Devola,” Commissioner Kevin Ritter said. “This is for current situations.”

Current situations include a new lift station in Little Hocking and a new meter in Belpre, said Commissioner David White. The Barlow-Vincent area also needs a SCADA system, which will cost around $63,000. The SCADA system is a real-time analysis tool for water and wastewater control.

Commission President Ron Feathers suggested a $2 per month increase, but White questioned it.

“At this point, I have to question if $2 is enough to cover current upgrades,” he said, noting that adding an extra $1 would add an additional $14,000 per year. “We know expenses will be higher within a year.”

The rate increases will be reflected on July’s bill, Feathers said.

In other commission news:

Lowell/Adams Volunteer Fire Chief Josh Harris read into the minutes a letter from Mark Wile, president of the Washington County Fire Chiefs Association. In his letter, Wile said commissioners recently sent an invoice to all fire departments in the county for repairs and maintenance of the radio towers for 2019. The total amount was almost $8,400, with each department to pay almost $398.

It was Wile’s understanding that an agreement between fire chiefs and past commissioners that commissioners would assume the responsibility. He said the fire department’s fundraisers are being canceled because of the pandemic, and he requested commissioners rescind the invoices and cover the cost of the radio towers for 2019. No action was taken on the request.

Karissa Reynolds and Mike Montgomery spoke to commissioners on behalf of the Humane Society of the Ohio Valley.

From March 1 through May 20, there was an intake of 164 cats and 82 dogs. Through adoptions and reclaims, there are currently 26 dogs and 56 cats housed at the shelter.

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

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