Solar provider sues village of Minster

By Sandy Rose Schwieterman - For the Sidney Daily News

MINSTER – Minster Village Council agreed to refinance bond debt and realize considerable savings at their Tuesday night, Sept. 1, meeting. They also met in executive session to discuss a lawsuit against them from a solar provider.

The council decided to refinance $4,695,00 in bond debt from the construction of the wastewater treatment plant in order to take advantage of current lower interest rates. The interest rate of the old bond loan had a variable rate of 4.5% to 6%. The new rate is anticipated to be 2% for a 15-year note, which will save the village approximately $1 million over the term of the note. The original debt was $6,050,000 for 30 years.

Following an executive session, it was announced that the village is being sued by a former contracted solar provider — EnPower — for $10.5 million over what the company considers breech of contract by the village. The village had canceled the contract with EnPower when the company did not meet deadlines for construction of an additional solar field.

Council agreed to set a date of Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. in council chambers for a public hearing regarding the zoning of the newly annexed 18 acres of land along state Route 66, northeast of the village. The council’s zoning committee has recommended that the property be zoned as half residential and half commercial.

Village Administrator Don Harrod said the minor street resurfacing project will begin this week, with contractor Barrett Paving working on Third Street between Main and Paris streets, on Hamilton Street between Third and Fourth on Fifth streets between Main and Hamilton streets and on Bensman Road at the state Route 66 intersection.

He also reported Lake County Sewer cleaned out and re-grouted the sewer line from Second to Fourth streets between Hanover Street and Lincoln Street. He said they were looking to replace the old lines by inserting a new line within the 8-inch line within the next year.

Progress also continues on the new water tower which is planned to replace one on Ohio Street. Harrod said they had a meeting with engineering and construction firm CDM Smith. They discussed the results of the hydraulic study and began discussions on possible designs for the new tank. In regards to location of the new tower, it was thought likely it would be built near the current tower. He said CDM continues to work on the modeling and will have preliminary reports to them in the future.

Posts have been set for both of the new entrance signs on state Route 66 north and south, with the actual signs to be installed soon. Lights and landscaping will also be done in the near future.

In meeting a request from residents, he said a couple of LED street lights were installed last week on East Seventh Street. He said this should light up this area a little better.

Finally, Harrod said village electrical crews continue to work on the north substation. They have installed all of the ground grid and have back-filled everything with stone. It is anticipated that the employees will begin to run wire between the switch house and the transformers next. The substation is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

In other action, council approved a second reading of an ordinance establishing a speed limit of 25 mph on East Seventh Street between Hamilton Street and the east corporation limit.

They also approved a resolution accepting the amounts and rates as determined by the Budget Commission and authorizing the necessary tax levies and certifying them to the County Auditor. Inside millage will be 2.2 mills and outside millage is 3 mills, the latter of which is financing the Fire and EMS departments.

They also adopted a resolution accepting $65,487.93 as their share in the distribution of Local Government Fund for Auglaize County, Ohio, as proposed by the Auglaize County Budget Commission.

Council also agreed to the hiring of Riley Gibson as a part-time police officer with the village at a rate of $16.05 per hour. Gibson will serve on an as-needed basis.

Council approved the payment of invoices over $3,000.00. Total invoices for the month were $1,004,377.06

By Sandy Rose Schwieterman

For the Sidney Daily News

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.