PAULDING – Paulding Village Council approved an infrastructure extension project and a water rate increase during regular session Tuesday, Jan. 18.

The meeting was postponed from Jan. 17 due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Mayor Greg White reported bids were opened Jan. 13 for extending water and sewer lines on Gasser Road. Four bids were received. VTF Excavating’s bid was approximately $750,000, within 10 percent of the engineer’s estimate of $700,000. The mayor noted the higher bids weren’t surprising since the cost of plastic materials has increased 25 to 30 percent.

Council unanimously approved a motion to accept the VTF bid by a 5-0 vote with Lois Beamer absent.

The infrastructure project hopefully will begin in early spring.

Council President Randy Daeger reported the utilities committee met Jan. 11 and recommended council enact a 3 percent water rate increase. A 2020 water study recommended annual cost increases to adequately operate and maintain the village’s water system.

Council unanimously approved the committee report, which accepts the rate increase, effective in February.

Councilman David Burtch asked whether a sewer rate increase also is needed. Daeger said the matter has been discussed, but no decision was made. The utilities committee will weigh options at a future meeting.

Emerald Road resident Margaret Phlipot addressed council about drainage problems in her front yard and neighbors’ yards. She said the problem has been ongoing for 10-12 years and is progressively getting worse. Water goes into her house, barn and garage.

Council believes the drainage is through an old clay tile. White said the village will need to contact an engineer to investigate and correct the problem.

Matt Sunday, a resident of Emerald Acres, asked for a street light at the corner of Emerald Road and Helen Street. The mayor will contact AEP about adding a light there.

Village officials were asked whether the recreation board has been dissolved. Burtch said the idea has been discussed, but council has taken no action.

Council said it’s been difficult recruiting members to the five-member board of citizens. Two members are appointed by the school, and three by the mayor. Councilman Tim Boss said it’s been almost impossible to have a working board recently. The mayor said an alternative may be to form a “friends of the park” to volunteer for park projects.

Solicitor Harvey Hyman has been working with administrator Jason Vance on the Gasser Road project and with Police Chief Randy Crawford on junk ordinance enforcement.

White said Crawford will be “really cracking down on the garbage in the different spots in town.” Hyman may suggest some ordinance changes, based on court outcomes.

Council inquired on the status of putting the village’s ordinances online. Hyman responded the project is nearly completed. American Legal Publishing had to go through 150 years’ worth of ordinances, filtering out those that are still valid, relevant and not contrary to Ohio law. Hyman is waiting for the final draft for review.

Council will need to ratify the online ordinances, which will effectively get rid of old ordinances that are outdated and no longer applicable.

Finance Director Cheryl Halter told council she has been working on closing the books for 2021. She expects to be finished by the next council meeting.

Council committee meetings scheduled were:

• Ordinance committee, regarding nuisance ordinance amendments, at 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27.

• Committee of the Whole to consider a TIF (Tax Increment Financing) application for a planned housing development, at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27.

Council adjourned into executive session to discuss personnel matters. No action was taken. The next regular council meeting is 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 7. The public may watch live via Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/4451352151. The meeting ID number is 445 135 2151.