Pickerington City Council unanimously finalized a resolution March 20 in hopes of forging an agreement with the cities of Groveport and Lancaster, the village of Baltimore and possibly others to contract jointly for services related to maintaining the communities' water tanks.

Pickerington City Council unanimously finalized a resolution March 20 in hopes of forging an agreement with the cities of Groveport and Lancaster, the village of Baltimore and possibly others to contract jointly for services related to maintaining the communities' water tanks.

"The city of Pickerington has plans to coordinate the maintenance of its water tanks over a contracted period of time with fixed annual costs," Pickerington city manager Bill Vance said. "City officials believed that negotiating this type of long-term maintenance contract could benefit from adding additional regional partners.

"The bigger the potential regional customer base, the more bargaining power those involved would have."

Pickerington currently has three water tanks: a 1-million-gallon tank off East Columbus Street, a 750,000-gallon water tower just west of Windmiller Drive near Refugee Road and a 500,000-gallon elevated tank off Longview Street.

Vance said well-maintained tanks require annual upkeep. That work includes interior and exterior painting, tank wash-outs, routine visual inspections, replacing tank parts and fittings, as well as handling unforeseen emergency water tank maintenance and repairs.

"Negotiated multi-year water tank maintenance agreements provide for significant amounts of water tank maintenance activities to be accomplished and then paid for in predictable annual amounts, which helps protect the integrity of municipal utility rate structures over the life of the agreement," Vance said. "Water tank maintenance contracts can allow municipal or county utilities to spread costs that can equate to figures approaching $1 million paid back over five to 10 years."

Although the Pickerington legislation invites Lancaster and Baltimore to participate in the regional request for qualifications related to water tank maintenance contracts, Vance said Groveport is the lone municipality that has formally expressed interest in pursuing the agreement to date. The others, he said, informally have indicated interest.

Any government that joins the regional agreement would name a representative to a committee to create advertisements seeking qualified companies interested in negotiating individual water tank maintenance agreements with the entities participating in the regional process, Vance said.

"The bigger the regional water tank maintenance group we organize, the more bargaining power all involved will have individually in such a coordinated process," he said.

The regional plan also is supported by city engineer Greg Bachman, city service director Ed Drobina and Mayor Lee Gray.

"(These officials and council) are showing leadership, not only in our community but in central Ohio," said Councilman Jeff Fix, who chairs council's city planning, projects and services committee.