Heath is delaying its water tower project for a few months, choosing to hire an engineer for a water study of the area.

Heath is delaying its water tower project for a few months, choosing to hire an engineer for a water study of the area.

"We're going to hire an engineering firm to do water modeling of the whole city," Mayor Richard Waugh said.

The city determined in 2007 it needed a water tower on Seminary Road to feed existing development in the area and entice new development.

John Geller, Heath's utilities superintendent, said because of some water distribution problems, city officials decided to study the city's distribution system before moving forward with the water tower project. He said the study will tell the city if it can supply water to future businesses and new residences.

The study is expected to cost $27,200, which will come out of the water utilities budget, Geller said.

Heath City Council on Monday will consider legislation to appropriate funding for the engineering costs and to enter into a contract with Burgess and Niple for the study.

City officials have said they need the water tower to service Thornwood Drive, Hebron Road, Irving Wick Drive, all properties in the Mid-Ohio industrial development and properties within the Heath-Newark-Licking County Port Authority's jurisdiction.

The estimated cost of the tower is $1.4-million. The city has applied for grants and federal stimulus funds but has yet to receive any financial support for the project.

City officials have talked about taking $400,000 out of the city's capital improvements fund and taking on debt for the rest, once the city has dropped some of its debt in the water department starting in 2010.

At least one member of council has opposed using money from the water fund. Geller said council member Jim Watercutter thinks the money should come from the city's general fund.

Waugh said the city has spent the last six months making sure its mapping system is complete before the engineering firm begins its work.

The water tower project was expected to go out for bid, but that will not happen until the engineering study is done.