MINSTER – The Minster Village Council adopted a wait and see attitude in regard to the new retaining basin at the $1,071,636.95 Dues Ditch project.
At their meeting Tuesday night, village Administrator Don Harrod told council that a sand seam uncovered by contractor R.D. Jones Excavating as they built the basin was keeping the water level at 2 feet, rather than the desired 7 to 8 feet deep. Harrod said the deeper water would reduce maintenance of the banks of the pond and keep out cattails.
He offered three solutions to the problem.
One was to line the pond with clay to reduce the drainage into the sand vein which would increase the cost of the project.
A second possible solution was to use Bentonite, an absorbent aluminium phyllosilicate clay. Harrod said that would cost more, around $99,000. Council member Nicole Clune offered that bentonite needs constant maintenance to stay effective.
The third possibility was to do nothing, assuming the first heavy rain would reveal whether the pond would stay at the desired depth. Council member Craig Sherman was assured the neighbors would not be affected by the leaking pond. The project is aimed at eliminating flooding in the area. Council member Tom Herkenoff said they would benefit with more room in the pond for runoff. Mayor Dennis Kitzmiller affirmed that they had nothing to lose by waiting.
In other business, council approved payment of a $7,602 invoice from Duncan and Allen for legal services defending the village in a lawsuit with a solar energy company who claim Minster unlawfully canceled a contract to build a solar energy field. The hearing on the lawsuit is currently set for Feb. 22, 2023, in Toledo.
Council also approved the village administrator requesting the village receive a $5 permissive license fee funds from the county. Harrod said last year the measure netted the village $20,000. The funding can only be used for resurfacing village roads.
They also approved a motion to accept the resignation of Darrin Mumaw from the public works department. Harrod said Mumaw will be taking the position of public works superintendent for the city of Versailles. Mumaw worked for the village since 2014.
Council approved the August 2022 income tax report as submitted by the city of St. Marys, which amounted to $302,999.53. The year-to-date total is $3,036,917,49.
Council also approved receipts of $1,940,225.24 and invoices of $1,812,094.76.
Harrod told council they and the public were invited to an open house at Nidec on Oct. 16 from 3 to 5 p.m. He said there would be demonstrations of their product operations along with refreshments.
In his report to council, the village administrator said hydrant testing is currently being undertaken by the public works department. So far, he said 137 hydrants out of the 251 hydrants owned by the village have been tested. In addition to testing, crews are also replacing the oil in the hydrants to make it easier to open and shut the valves.
He said contractor RD Jones had not been in to start the installation of the piping portion of the Dues Ditch storm water project but they expected them to return to the village within the next few weeks to start this portion of the project.
The parks department has prepared the pool for the winter months, said Harrod, with everything winterized. He added the village crews will be installing the new pool cover within the next week or so.
Harrod said he attended a public hearing hosted by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio to discuss the village’s request to have the railroad tracks within the village limits be exempted. The village requested this exemption earlier this year. He testified as to the amount of train traffic on the rails and why the village believes that the crossings should be exempt. Harrod said the village should expect a response back from the PUCO within the next couple of months. A status of exempted means that vehicles such as buses need not stop at the crossing.
All of the contract documents between Peterson Construction and the village for the sand filter media replacement project have been executed. He said they are trying to set up a pre-construction meeting with Peterson so they can determine when the project will start.
Crews are working on getting the leaf truck ready for leaf pick-up, which will begin in the next couple of weeks as the leaves start to fall.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.