The Canal Winchester Times

Council OKs release of funds for water plant

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After several setbacks, Groveport will be moving forward with the construction of a new water treatment facility, likely to be completed by the summer of 2015.

A resolution to appropriate the necessary funds for a new plant was approved by Groveport City Council in a 4-1 vote at its April 14 meeting.

Only Councilwoman Jean Ann Hilbert voted against the latest resolution.

"I can't vote to put this indebtedness on the 1,200 people who will be paying this debt for at least a generation," Hilbert said. "I cannot in good faith do this to the citizens of Groveport."

Councilwoman Donna Drury, who has been a supporter of the new water plant, has been on excused absence from council most of this year due to health issues; she missed all votes related to the resolutions in February and March.

Drury's absence was what originally provided the opposing council members, Ed Dildine and Hilbert, the opportunity to block the resolution at the Feb. 24 meeting. The vote was 3-2 in favor, but the city charter requires four votes to enact a resolution.

Dildine, who changed his vote from "no" at the Feb. 24 meeting to "yes" at the April 14 meeting, said he still would rather see those 1,200 Groveport water customers connected to the Columbus water system, which is where the other 1,500 Groveport residences receive their service.

However, he said he believes it is his job to support the decision originally approved by city council, and which was not challenged by voters through referendum.

"The council, as a part of a democratic process, decided to buy a new water plant and raise money for that," Dildine said. "I want people to know I didn't agree with that decision, but I feel like my job now is to help put the decision council voted on in process."

Now that the resolution has been approved, city officials can award a contract for the work.

"The bid opening was moved back to April 11 and we ended up receiving three bids within 10 percent of the estimate, which are currently being reviewed by City Engineer Steve Farst," City Administrator Marsha Hall said.

"We expect to have a winning bid presented to council at the next meeting (April 28) with work starting mid-summer and completing next summer."

Work to install a pressure relief valve between the Groveport and Columbus systems has already begun and will allow the city to decommission the "tin-man" water tower which, due to deterioration, has been a source of friction between residents and the city.

Including the cost of that work, the total estimate for the water project, according to Hall, is $2,450,000.

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