Several residents of the Village of Sardinia attended the March 13 Sardinia Council meeting to express their concerns about the jump in their water/sewer bills.
Sardinia Mayor Greg Cassidy did his best to explain why the hike in water bills was deemed necessary by council.
Residents were concerned that they did not have proper notification about the increases and that their water/sewer bills had more than doubled with more increases scheduled annually for the next few years.
One resident told council that her water bill is already running about $300 a month, and the upcoming increases will be very difficult for her to pay.
“We subscribe to RCAP, which basically does water and sewer rate studies for the state of Ohio,” Mayor Cassidy said, “The new sewer and water rates are what we were advised to charge. In fact they should have started a long time ago.
“The reason we are in this situation today, is because back in the 90s and the early 2000s, the village did nothing about putting away any kind of capital investment money for continued improvements to its water processing plant.”
According to Cassidy the first increase began in 2010 with a 20 percent increase, the next year was a 15 percent increase, then a 10 percent, 5 percent, 5 percent and 5 percent increase is scheduled.
Cassidy explained that eventually, the water processing plant, north of town, was shut down and water is now purchased from the Brown County Rural Water Association for the village.
“In about 2003, the sewer plant was deemed to need a major, major upgrade,” Cassidy said. “So in 2006, we ended up spending $3.5 million on the waste water processing plant, behind the library. We did that with no down-payment, no nothing, so we’ve got a really big mortgage to pay off, and that’s the problem.”
Fiscal Officer Karen Miller said the village has to pay $54,000 on the bill twice a year.
“Unfortunately, this is a situation where this village administration should have had more foresight, 20 years ago, to address these problems,”Cassidy said. “Now, this administration is doing just that. Every year we budget for maintenance and upgrades. So now when we need improvements made, we will have the money to do what’s needed.”
Cassidy said the village is not charging any more than is absolutely necessary and the charges are now up to where they should be.
“Unfortunately our residents are now having to pay for poor planning in the past,” Cassidy said.
In other business, resident, Jim Ellis with the Sardinia Historical Society, attended the meeting to request that the village allow him to place several historical signs at the entrances into the village.
“In history, you’ll remember in the Civil War, the Morgan Raiders came right through our town,” Ellis began, “There was a group of Confederates that crossed the river from Kentucky to Indiana to Cincinnati who were stealing and terrorizing.
“There were about 2,500 who came in from Williamsburg, Mt. Orab, and Winchester. Mt. Orab sent about 200 down to Georgetown and on to Ripley, but the majority of them came through Sardinia.”
There are signs all over town about Morgan Raiders in other villages in Brown County, according to Ellis, and he asked permission to put the historic signs in Sardinia recognizing its involvement. The historical society would purchase the signs if the village would put them up.
After very little discussion council agreed and Ellis will move forward on the project.
Sardinia Fire Chief Tommy Kirker was given approval to purchase a new tanker truck for his department at a cost of $22,500 which will be paid for by levy money. The new truck will replace three vehicles.
Council approved a plan where cemetery lots can now be paid for over an eight month period instead of all at the same time. A new contract was approved.