MINSTER – Minster Village Council approved a resolution at Tuesday’s meeting which will allow Dannon Company to increase their waster-water capacity to 1.1 million gallons per day, despite objections by residents attending the meeting and one dissenting council member. The current waste-water limit is 880,000 gallons.
The village resolution was required by the EPA which allowed Dannon to apply for a permit to increase waster-water output.
The resolution will go in effect in 30 days. Voting in support of the resolution were Nicole Clune, Tom Herkenhoff, and Craig Oldiges. Paul Enneking cast the single no vote. Council members Rick Schwartz and Curt Albers were excused from attending.
Before the vote, several town residents attending the meeting requested that the council delay approving the resolution until later in the summer, to make certain that the yogurt company’s recent odor control management strategies proved to work effectively. Council member Paul Enneking agreed, questioning why waiting 90 days would be a problem.
Council members Tom Herkenhoff, Craig Oldiges and Nicole Clune preferred that the resolution be approved that night. They cited various reasons.
Herkenhoff said the company has not been “sitting on their hands” and continues to improve their performance. He also said that noise and sometimes smells come from other companies around town but that “it all comes with growth.”
Oldiges said although there is still room for improvement, the odor problems at the plant have become better.
Clune said the company has shown much better cooperation over the last few years. She felt that Dannon has made serious strides in controlling odors.
“I don’t think they are the kind of company that will stop improving things after approval,” said Clune.
When one spectator said “won’t you listen to us (the people) Clune maintained that they (the council) do listen but needed to listen to the company too.
One village resident did support the resolution. Wes Farno, a Dannon employee, said they have shown commitment through this process. He also said the 1.1 million increase will not come tomorrow but they need the capacity to improve the process and allow regulation of wastewater flow.
In other action, the council approved a third reading of an ordinance instituting an inspection system that will protect village water system quality, as required by EPA regulations. Now approved, an annual program of inspections of homes and businesses will make certain there is no back-flow of untreated water from cisterns and sprinkler systems. Those with back-flow problems will be required to add a regulator.
Minster student Grace Butler was awarded at $2,500 Lyle B. Wright scholarship from the American Municipal Power(AMP). AMP representative Marni Hollman said Butler was among the four selected this year for the one-time award. Winners of the annual award show knowledge of public power through an essay and test, a good scholastic record, and personal achievement in school and community activities.
In his administrative report, Don Harrod reported the Fifth Street project is almost finished. The village personnel will be doing a final walk-through to identify any outstanding issues.
Also, village crews have set down a base coat pavement at the industrial park and are beginning to work on the sanitary sewer installation. Further, he said annual accuracy testing on three phase electrical meter is scheduled to begin this week. The parks department is in the process of getting the pool ready for the upcoming season. Season passes will be going on sale on May 17, 21, 23 and 24 from 5 to 8 p.m. Harrod did report a water leak issue at the water feature which would delay beginning its operation for a few weeks. The main and baby pool are not affected. Finally, all of the banners honoring those who served in the armed forces have been hung along Main Street
In other business, council approved:
• Receipts of $1,851,099.24, invoices $661,337.58, and payment of invoices over $3,000.
• Hiring of additional seasonal Parks and Recreation Department employees.
Council then adjourned for executive session. Upon return to regular session, the council announced the hiring of Travis Fishbaugh as the new village waste-water superintendent. He replaces the retired Dan Haehn. Fishbaugh will begin working for the village June 1. He currently holds a position as a waste-water operator with the city of St. Marys.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News