NEW HAVEN — After deciding to totally scrap the entire water project at a Nov. 28 meeting, New Haven council members voted Monday night to proceed with a scaled-down version.
The council has been back and forth on the project since the mostly new administration took office on July 1.
Their most recent decision will take the project from its first projected cost of $6.6 million to somewhere between $3.5 million and $4 million.
Engineers Greg Belcher and Amanda Sutphin of Chapman Technical Group attended the meeting. Belcher said basically the project is now contingent upon how much debt the town can take on and maintain current water rates, or have them increase by only about $5 per month. But, the engineer said, the project must be kept large enough to remain eligible for its low interest funding.
While the previous project would have replaced water lines town wide, the scaled down version will include a new water tank, well repair, new lines on Fourth Street, Haven Heights, and possibly Mill Street.
When it came to a vote, councilmen Matt Shell and Grant Hysell gave the nod to proceed, while Jim Elias voted no. Council members Matt Gregg and George Gibbs were absent from the meeting.
In other action, the council:
Heard from resident Ronnie Zerkle that two street lights are out, and a section of concrete needs replaced on Hazelwood Drive;
Announced beginning Jan. 2, the community center will be open Monday through Friday from 9 to 11 a.m. to allow people to walk;
Reported members are in the process of implementing a random drug testing policy for employees;
Decided in 2017, employees can no longer save sick time hours to be cashed in at year’s end;
Heard a request from Police Chief Dave Hardwick for two updated handheld and two car radios;
Approved the minutes of the previous meeting, the financial report, and accounts payable; and,
Set the next meeting for Jan. 9.
Attending, in addition to councilmen Elias, Shell and Hysell, were Mayor Jerry Spradling and Recorder Roberta Hysell.
Additional business conducted at the Nov. 28 meeting included the hiring of Kevin Day as a full-time police officer. After a 90-day probationary period, he will be eligible for a 50-cent pay increase, it was noted.
It was also reported that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has reduced the town’s fine for the wastewater plant violations from $30,000 to $24,000, based on documentation provided by the town. A payment plan of $2,000 per month for one year will begin in January. The DEP also agreed to reevaluate the progress made by the town and potentially continue reducing the fine.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing who can be reached at email@example.com.