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Lakemore sets steep fee for unlawful connections

6/19/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Emily Chesnic

At the June 16 meeting, Lakemore Village Council took action to help flush out illegal activity in the community.

In accordance with an approved ordinance, village officials now may connect an individual caught turning on his or her own water or sanitary sewer system after it has been shut off with a hefty fine.

The adopted legislation states only an employee of the Department of Public Services (DOPS) is authorized to reconnect someone’s sewer and water, and those in violation of the law would have to pay a $500 fine, in addition to full charges from the turn-off date and a reconnection fee.

The matter was discussed at a public hearing held just prior to the regular meeting.

At that time, Mayor Rick Justice said the high fine would be an appropriate means to “curb” people from making an unlawful connection to the village’s water or sewer system, which has been an ongoing problem in the village.

“This is a theft of a public service,” he explained.

Also during the meeting, Council approved advertising for and accepting bids for a hydrant/water main replacement project. Justice explained the village recently secured a $125,000 grant for the purchase of 14 new fire hydrants and four valves. He said some of the valves need to be replaced due to cracking and leaking.

Council also approved a resolution “strongly” opposing the passage of House Bill 5 by the Ohio General Assembly in its current form. According to the approved legislation, House Bill 5 proposes uniformity measures for municipal income tax, municipalities’ largest revenue source, in the form of unfunded mandates and a substantial loss of revenue. The measure would “cripple” the ability of municipalities to provide basic services to residents and resident businesses, and any forced reduction in this revenue would have a negative impact on the residents and businesses, the resolution states. Justice said the House bill would be “quite unfair” to cities and is opposed by most mayors associations across the state.

During the meeting, Council:

  • approved hiring Louis Noland as a part-time seasonal employee for the DOPS at a rate of $10 per hour;
  • approved hiring Adam Lovell as a probationary, volunteer firefighter/EMT for the fire department;
  • accepted the 2015 alternative tax budget for the village to be filed with the county;
  • approved a resolution authorizing Justice to prepare and submit an application to participate in the Ohio Public Works Commission State Capital Improvement and/or Transportation Improvement Programs and to execute contracts, as the village is planning to make capital improvements to the water storage tank, which is considered a priority need for the community; and
  • heard first reading of a resolution accepting the village’s drinking water source protection plan. According to the legislation, Lakemore is required to create and maintain a drinking water source protection plan per the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. The resolution states the village formed a protection team and included the following in the plan: a list of potential contaminant source control strategies; education and outreach ideas; an update of the DOPS annual contingency plan; and defined terms for the plan.

The next Council meeting is set for July 7 at 7 p.m. at the Municipal Building, 1400 Main St.

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