PAULDING – A water rate hike, the end of leaf pick-up, project updates and the upcoming Christmas parade were among Paulding Village Council’s agenda items on Monday, Dec. 2.

Councilman Randy Daeger reported on last week’s utility committee meeting to further discuss a planned water rate increase.

At the Nov. 4 council meeting, village administrator Dale Goebel gave notice that water rates would increase 3 percent as of Jan. 1. However, Finance Director Annette Hasch told council water rates need to increase by about 6 percent.

“After much discussion it was determined that the 3 percent increase the administrator was allowed to impose would not be sufficient,” Daeger said. He explained the cost for new filters for the water plant has been higher than expected and regular operations costs have have increased.

The utility committee decided to “increase water rates by 9 percent to get the village through the increased financial demands in the water department. On the average water bill, this would mean an increase of $1.90 per month,” said Daeger.

Additionally, the committee agreed to conduct a five-year water rate study to determine what kinds of increases, if any would be needed in the future.

Council unanimously accepted the utility committee’s recommendation. Council is expected at its next meeting to vote on an emergency ordinance authorizing the 9 percent rate hike to become effective Jan. 1.

Goebel announced the last day of leaf pick-up for the season will be today, Dec. 4. Bagged leaves should be placed at the curb by 9 a.m.

The administrator also noted that many residents are dropping their leaves at the village’s compost pile behind Live Oak Cemetery. He emphasized residents should take leaves back to the debris pile, and not dump leaves at the front along the driveway.

Also, plastic bags should be opened and leaves dumped out; no plastic bags should be left behind as they cannot be composted.

Mayor Greg Reinhart indicated the compost site may have to be closed if residents won’t follow the posted rules.

The annual Merry & Bright Christmas celebration and parade will be held downtown on Sunday, Dec. 8, said Councilman David Burtch. Shop the Square will be Saturday and Sunday. He urges area residents to attend and enjoy the activities.

Councilman Barb Rife reported the buildings and grounds committee evaluated options to repair the front facade of the utility maintenance shop, formerly Stykemain’s dealership, on Main Street.

Rife said the committee recommended removing the front windows and replacing them with cement block and replacing two existing entry doors with new ones for approximately $13,000. Council unanimously accepted the committee report.

Daeger said the Garfield Avenue Extended bridge replacement is complete, except for some new asphalt to be done in the spring.

Reinhart said the village’s last Mayor’s Court will be Dec. 31. Afterward, citations will go through the new county municipal court.

Village solicitor Harvey Hyman said the county’s assistant prosecutor, Matthew Miller, has agreed to contract with the village to prosecute cases as needed, for the same hourly rate as Hyman is now paid.

Council briefly discussed how much money the village might receive from fines and concluded the town probably will end up losing money compared to operating Mayor’s Court.

Matt and Karen Sunday from Emerald Acres asked when the sewer jet will be used. Goebel responded that Helen Street is on the schedule and will be done first.

In other business:

• Council heard a hearing on proposed annexation of CIC and Schweller properties on Gasser Road is scheduled for 10 a.m. Jan. 15 in the county commissioners’ office in the courthouse. The properties total about 15.1 acres.

• The safety committee met to discuss rotating police cruisers and funding in next year’s budget. Councilman Tim Boss said no recommendation was made at this time.

• Councilman Greg White reported the street committee is beginning discussions on adding sidewalks along Dooley Drive between Emerald Road and U.S. 127, and possibly west on Gasser Road toward Countryside Estates.

• Council unanimously voted to suspend the rules and adopt Amended Resolution 1354-19 to submit the question of the income tax increase for cemetery maintenance to the voters on March 17. The original resolution, passed at the Nov. 18 meeting, had the incorrect primary date.

• Council heard the second readings of Ordinance 1574-19 to make permanent appropriations for current expenses and other expenditures of the village during 2020 totaling $7,286,470 and Ordinance 1573-19 to amend and increase appropriations for current expenses for the village for the current year ending Dec. 31.

• The second reading also was heard for Resolution 1353-19 authorizing purchasing supplies for 2020.

• Approved Hasch’s request for VTF Excavation’s sixth sewer separation project payment, totaling $176,099.30.

• Reinhart noted a couple of interviews are scheduled for the finance director position.

The next regular council meeting is 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 16.