Fifty-eight residents from the Raymond and Peoria area turned out Thursday night for a public meeting to learn more about the county's plans for proposed sanitary and wastewater projects in the area.

Fifty-eight residents from the Raymond and Peoria area turned out Thursday night for a public meeting to learn more about the county's plans for proposed sanitary and wastewater projects in the area.

Rebecca Tillman, of Peoria, was one of the first to arrive for the two-hour meeting held at the Liberty Township community hall.

Tillman wanted to know how long it will take to build the $4.3-million treatment facility, how involved it will be and how much it is going to cost her.

"We should have had it years ago," Tillman said.

The Union County commissioners, according to engineer Joanna Pinkerton, bought about five acres from the Joseph Detwiler property with three of those acres being above the flood plain.

"The site we selected is based on engineering feasibility," said Pinkerton.

The county considered six different properties and selected the best location for keeping costs to a minimum., she said.

The site is bordered by property belonging to Arlie B. and Conna A. Borders, Tiffany E. Springer and Jean Y. Rogan.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) will give the county 36 months to complete the project once the findings and orders are signed, according to Pinkerton.

"That has not been signed, so the clock has not officially started ticking," she said.

Mary Sampsel, also of the county engineer's office, said they will have six months from completion to get everyone tied into the system.

Rodney Preston, a resident of a home on Paver-Barnes Road located adjacent to the potential site, is not happy about the county purchasing the land without giving notice to area residents.

"This is bad on the people in Peoria," he said. "It is being shoved down our throats. They have a great big field and they are putting it up against the houses. Why not buy the south four acres?"

Sampsel said a lot of the land on the Detwiler property floods and the county cannot construct a facility in a flood plain.

Commissioner Gary Lee said the treatment plant will be located as far away from the houses as possible.

Melissa Withrow, a resident of Peoria with a home behind the potential site, also said the selected property floods.

"We have seen the water rise there," she said. "I have pictures of it. I stood on the backside of my barn and you could see the water coming."

"Everybody is complaining about the location," she said.

Withrow said she could not understand why the treatment facility could not be built between Raymond and Peoria.

Pinkerton said the elevation changes midway between the two communities. Construction in that area would result in a need for more pump stations, which would increase costs. The proposed site allows for gravity flow to Mill Creek,

Withrow claimed the county did not make an attempt to obtain stimulus funds to defray costs, but Pinkerton and Lee said that was not the case.

Lee said Pinkerton worked countless hours filling out every application she could for stimulus funds and they thought there was a good chance that money might be directed at the project since the OEPA deemed it a priority project.

"We were told we were a good candidate," said Pinkerton.

Then the project failed to make the final cut.

"Even when they told us no," Pinkerton said, "we went to the state and testified."

Pinkerton said in May she could not understand how the OEPA considered it important enough to take legal action against the county, but was not willing to award dollars.

Withrow said it will cost about $3,000 per household for the system and then they will have to pay for plumbing before footing a monthly bill of $52.44.

"Some of these people are barely scraping by," she said.

She said she has a functional septic system which will no longer suffice and expressed concerns about property values and increasing property taxes.

Property values typically increase with the construction of sewer and water treatment facilities, according to Pinkerton.

"Yes, the property values increase," said Lee, "but the 'yes" is a qualified yes. With some homes it will cost more to hook in than the house is valued at, but the vast majority will increase in value."

Pinkerton understands the project will be a burden on the local residents. She said she learned of their plight when she conducted income surveys by going door-to-door.

"They were the ones that struck a chord with me," she said.

Pinkerton and Lee were pleased with the turn out since 180 homes will be affected and165 of the homes are currently occupied.

A number of the people in attendance were from surrounding areas, said Pinkerton, and came out to be supportive since they are aware of the pollution issues.

"The majority are in support of the concept," she said. "I was expecting more resistance."