Barnesville sewer service questioned

BARNESVILLE-The village will not be forcing sewer service on residents whose properties are on the corporation limit borders-unless they are directed to do so by the health department or state Environmental Protection Agency.

Residents in the Railroad and Bethesda streets area brought questions about that responsibility to Monday night’s council meeting.

Nine homes in that neighborhood are still on septic systems, but the county health department has found two system failures after testing this spring. In addition, the state EPA has received consistent complaints over the past several years, according to residents. Representatives from those agencies told these residents that the town has the decision-making power in providing sewer service to alleviate those problems. Tests have also found issues with a drainage ditch and sewage as a breeding place for mosquitoes, raising concerns about bacteria being passed to humans and pets through bites.

“People are waiting to make improvements to their systems that are up to $10,000 out of pocket,” says resident Jim Crozier. “The health department says they’re waiting for the city to decide on sewers. No one wants to spend that kind of money and have the city decide to put sewers in next year.”

Councilmen Dale Bunting and Terry McCort stated that they were against any mandate for homeowners outside the town limits, even though some of these homes are only a few feet away from that line. Village Solicitor Marlin Harper noted that the health department and EPA do have the power to force towns to provide sewer service and have done so. Owners are, however, responsible for fixing their septic systems when health issues arise.

Roger Deal, village administrator, will be notifying the health department and EPA of the town’s position.

“It’s been six weeks,” resident Ray Jeffers added. “Let someone just make a decision and fix the problem.”

Bunting brought up more Memorial Park improvements for council consideration. The T-ball fields are in disrepair, needing bleachers, fencing and upgrades to the fields and dugouts. Councilman Brad Hudson responded that loads of sand and stone have been delivered to add to the field, but agreed that the bleachers are “dangerous.”

Deal suggested hiring someone to dismantle them and replace them with those from another area of the park. Two sets of new bleachers are on order. Meanwhile visitors are encouraged to bring lawn chairs for the games.

The basketball court also needs attention, thanks in part to ground shifts from blasting. Hudson recommended cutting the damaged area away and patching it so that it is usable. More permanent repairs can be done when the blasting is over. Deal agreed, and the town will be fixing that issue.

William Knox, economic development specialist, announced that Barnesville did receive the Local Government Innovative Fund grant for which they applied earlier this year. The town will use the $98,000 to conduct an area feasibility study for a multi-purpose community center. Of more than 20 grants that Ohio Development Services funded in this round, the project was the only one in the southeast quadrant.

Council members received several items for review, including rate changes for the Health Plan, information on vision insurance and a proposed ordinance for aggregated electric service.

Pay Ordinance #11 in the amount of $236,848.11, meeting Minutes from May and Resolution #3613 establishing a new fund for the Drug Task Force were all approved by council.

The Barnesville Village Council meets every other Monday at 7 p.m.

Valenti can be reached at