Smithfield discusses water transfer agreement

SMITHFIELD – Village Solicitor Bryan Felmet read the proposed water transfer agreement with the Jefferson County Water and Sewer Department during Tuesday’s meeting of Village Council.

Councilman George Harrah said there was nothing in the agreement noting the billing for sewage customers would be separate from the county water department.

Council members Nikki Pflugh, Ed Sobolewski, Pat Freeland and Harrah voted to adopt the agreement after the addition is made concerning sewage billing. Council member Terri Barath was absent from the meeting.

“County commissioners will be meeting today and it is the expectation that it will be passed when approved,” Felmet said. “It has been a long haul. You will have to talk to each other. You need to have a good relationship.”

Debbie Coconaugher, clerk-treasurer, said, “The next water bill be coming from Smithfield as our last bill was Dec. 17. So the bill will cover the period to Jan. 17. The water system is ours until it actually changes hands and it will take time. Then, the sewage bill will come from Smithfield (board of public affairs) and the water bill will come from the county. Sewage rates will be assessed by water usage. It still will be $34 for 3,000 gallons and more as the water usage goes up. This is not any different from any other community in the county.”

Coconaugher noted the county will furnish the water usage amounts to the water board, so the sewer amounts could be computed.

She noted the county worksheet regarding all water bills for Piney Fork usage, adjusted water usage and Friendship Park water service from 2005 until 2012 was received.

Barbara Harrah of the board of public affairs; Pflugh; Freeland, public affairs chairman; and Coconaugher will meet with the county water department to discuss the bill and come to a conclusion.

Pflugh reported the open council seat, vacated by Geordie Lindsay, and advertised through December and early January, brought in only one applicant. Advertising for the council member will continue until Feb. 1. Those interested need to bring a resume and a letter of intent to the City Building by Feb. 1 and be available to attend the Feb. 5 council meeting.

Pflugh was nominated and elected council president for another term, and the contract with Felmet as solicitor was continued until either party wishes to discontinue. The salary will continue at $400 per month with $80 per hour for service above four hours each month.

Schooling for Water Superintendent Ron Saxon to attain an A-1 class distinction in the quest for a sewage operator’s license was requested by Dick Freeland and approved by council.

Saxon reported the burned houses that were a safety hazard for children waiting on buses at the former high school site were eliminated, and Annette Dameron had been hired at the water department two days each week.

He said a leak at the water tower has been temporarily plugged but it is too hazardous to try further repairs due to the ice and cold weather.

“We can’t put people in harm’s way,” Saxon said.

Saxon asked about the closing of New Street, between Wood and Lee streets, because of hazardous conditions. This was approved by council and the closing will continue through May 1, it was noted.

In other matters, Harrah asked about the progress of correcting erosion on the hillside near Tanner Street. “Every time there is a rain, Tanner Street washes out,” he said. Dick Freeland and Doug Wilson will check out the situation and talk with Jim Brannigan, county engineer, if necessary, it was noted.

Mayor Ted Boyd said the City Building will be used for an informational open meeting at 5 p.m. Feb. 13 concerning the Smithfield post office.

Felmet checked the Ohio Basic Code for a ruling on the need for residents to clean sidewalks in front of their homes that could be hazardous to walkers. The removal of snow and ice within 12 hours of a storm is listed in the code and council tabled the issue for discussion until the Feb. 5 meeting.