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Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

St. Henry council OKs rate increases

By Tom Stankard
ST. HENRY - Residents soon will pay higher sewer and water rates.
After much discussion, council members on Monday agreed to raise utility rates by $11 per month. Village administrator Ron Gelhaus said the increase would be $6 per month to the water improvement fund and $5 to the sewer improvement fund.
The current minimum rate for both utilities is $23.75 per month, he said.
"We haven't raised the surcharge on the water bill for over 10 years," Gelhaus noted.
Mayor Steve Koesters has said the increase was needed. The increased rates will help fund capital improvement plans and upgrades that are necessary for the village's water and sewer utilities.
The changes will take effect at the start of April, Koesters said.
Council members also confirmed the appointment of Michael Link as a full-time police officer. He will start April 16.
Members also gave first reading of an ordinance setting compensation for the swimming pool and recreation employees and establishing pool fees for the summer. A one-time use individual ticket is $5, a family season pass is $90 and an individual season pass is $50.
The ordinance has only two changes from last year's, Gelhaus said. Pool manager Ron Brunswick will receive a $250 raise, which will increase his salary to $5,000.
"This will be his fourth season," Gelhaus said. "He does a great job. I hope he's with us for another 10 years."
For the second change, summer recreation adviser Justin Wenning's salary will be raised by $100 to $2,100 for the season.
Members also approved a resolution opposing the state government's collecting the village's income taxes. Gelhaus said this wouldn't be a good thing for the village.
"Columbus thinks they can collect our revenues better than we can and then charge us to collect it," he said. "It's bad for municipalities in the state of Ohio, period."
The resolution is a response to Gov. John Kasich's call for a centralized collection of municipal income taxes outlined in his proposed state budget.
In other action, council members,
• gave first reading of an ordinance authorizing the mayor to enter into a contract with Mercer County Board of Commissioners for ambulance service for 2017.
• learned the bathhouse is nearly completed. If everything remains on schedule, an open house will be held on April 29, Gelhaus said.
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The end result was the same: another Bulldog victory. [More]
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