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Harrison Commissioners establish tap fee charge for future Freeport sewer system

T-L Photo/CARRI GRAHAM 1. Harrison County Commissioner Paul Coffland, left, reads a resolution Wednesday establishing a tap fee charge for the proposed sanitary sewer system in Freeport. Also pictured is Commissioner Don Bethel.

CADIZ — The Harrison County Board of Commissioners established a $1,500 tap fee in Freeport for the proposed sanitary sewer system, though the fee will not be implemented until the project is completed and the system is up and running.

Commissioners Paul Coffland and Don Bethel signed the resolution during Wednesday’s meeting. Commissioner Dale Norris was absent from the meeting.

The board had to establish a user charge to help fund operations, maintain the system and cover debt service requirements due to requirements held by the funding sources for the proposed $8.6 million sewer system, according to the resolution. To date, the county, which is assisting with acquiring funds for the project, has obtained both grants and loans through the Ohio Water Development Authority, H2Ohio Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Grant program, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. An increase in user fee was also implemented in the village last year to help fund the project.

Coffland said each household will be charged a $1,500 tap fee to hook up to the new system upon completion of the project. The cost is in line with the amount charged in other areas of the county and simply covers the cost of the parts and labor associated with installing and connecting the line to each residence, commissioners said.

Bethel noted that there will be exceptions and fee assistance available for residents with low- to moderate-income households.

“Everyone will have to pay the fee, but not necessarily out of pocket,’ Coffland added.

Coffland said residents will not be required to pay the fee until the project is complete, which is years away. He said ideally the project will go out to bid next year and construction will follow, then it typically takes around a year to build the system.

The proposed project includes the construction of a wastewater collection and treatment system for the village of Freeport, which currently operates without a sewer system. Instead households have individual septic systems that are reportedly failing and have also been identified as a contamination source for local streams and environment by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

In other matters, commissioners signed an agreement for a $7,352 grant for the adult probation office. Andrew Foreman, probation officer with Harrison County Court of Common Pleas, met with commissioners about the recurring pre-sentencing investigation grant. He said the office received a 5 percent increase this year, totalling an additional $365. The grant will help fund the program, which assists with the county’s community-based correction program service.

Also, commissioners announced the Dec. 8 meeting has been rescheduled to Dec. 6 due to a meeting of the County Commissioners Engineers Association.

The board next meets at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Harrison County Courthouse.

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