Switch from well water means unexpected costs
The addition of an $8,500 line item to an ordinance authorizing more than $1.2 million in supplemental appropriations caused the most discussion at the March 18 meeting of Grandview Heights City Council.
The administration asked council members to approve the $8,500 cost of equipment to make sure the city could provide enough water to top off the municipal pool throughout the summer.
The cash would be used to pay for a new three-inch pump as well as installation and plumbing costs.
Grandview currently uses an underground well as the source of water for the pool, but the aquifer in the well is a shared one that extends beneath the nearby Kaplin tract, council member and finance committee Chairman Anthony Panzera said.
The Kaplin tract is the 36-acre site at the northeast corner of Dublin Road and Grandview Avenue that Wagenbrenner plans to redevelop as a mixed-use project, including residential, commercial and retail uses. Most of the site is in the city of Columbus, but about nine acres rest in Grandview.
Wagenbrenner has submitted a proposed remediation project for the site to the Ohio EPA. In order for it to be approved, the city was told, it will need to stop using the well as a source of water, Panzera said.
A proposed long-term solution for obtaining a source of water for the pool would involve switching from a two-inch line to a three-inch line belonging to the city of Columbus, he said.
The total initial cost would be about $77,000, which would include the new three-inch pump, a tap fee for the new line and related plumbing.
That cost would not include the cost of purchasing the water from Columbus, which is currently estimated at between $12,000 and $15,000 per year, Panzera said.
"In the short term, that might be palatable," he said. "The concern I have is with the direction (water costs are going), we can count on that to be $30,000 in 10 years."
That could mean the city would have to pay as much as $500,000 in fees for water "that we've never had to pay," Panzera said.
The $77,000 is not included in the proposed supplemental appropriations and approving the $8,500 expenditure would not commit the city to adopting the long-term plan, he said.
Wagenbrenner is eager for Grandview to submit a letter confirming its intention to stop using the underground well so the company can get its remediation plan approved and under way, Mayor Ray DeGraw said.
Council member Steve Gladman said he is uneasy about submitting such a letter without getting a commitment from the developer that it would help offset or cover entirely the costs the city would incur.
"If we submit that letter, we're committed to a solution," he said.
A memorandum of understanding with Wagenbrenner should be sought to address those issues, council member P'Elizabeth Koelker said.
Council President Steve Reynolds said he could not vote for the $8,500 appropriation without more information.
A potential alternate solution to installing the new three-inch line is for the city to use water from a fire hydrant to fill the pool, council member Milt Lewis said.
Lewis asked the city to contact Columbus to see if such an option would be possible.
That option has been discussed before, DeGraw said.
The city currently has an agreement with Columbus that only one fire hydrant in the city can be used to pull water for projects, he said.
The pool issue was expected to be discussed further at a recreation, services and public facilities committee meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 27.
Gladman is the chairman of that committee.
The aim will be to get all questions and concerns answered so council could approve the pool appropriation at its meeting April 8.
At its March 18 meeting, council opted to approve the original version of the supplemental appropriations ordinance that had been given a first reading March 4. That version did not include the additional $8,500 appropriation related to the pool.
The ordinance as approved included an appropriation of about $1 million for the distribution of Payments in Lieu of Taxes money to the Grandview Heights City School District to make up for tax abatements the district agreed to for the Grandview Yard project.
Those PILOT funds have come in from the county, Director of Finance Bob Dvoraczky said.
The supplemental appropriations also include $145,565 for debt-service payments on the park bonds that will be due June 1 and Dec. 1, he said.
In future years, the debt-service payments will be included as part of the annual budget, Dvoraczky said.