PDT Staff Writer
Members of two different councils are calling for a joint meeting to go over several important issues. After a conversation, New Boston Village Councilman Mike Payton sent an email to First Ward Portsmouth City Councilman Kevin Johnson.
“Kevin, As per our conversation this morning, I am forwarding this to you for your thoughts: I was glad you are interested in a combined meeting of the two councils (NB & Ports). Among possible discussion points that I would like to see on a proposed agenda are the following: *Discussion on the current floodwall certification status *Discussion on the sewer situation in both Portsmouth and New Boston and Federal/State EPA involvement. Please feel free to add to this list as you see fit,” Payton said. “As we discussed this morning, I am in total agreement more communication lines need to be opened between both councils as more situations involving the two communities are continuing to evolve. This is absolutely no reflection on any staff working for either entity but just the nature of political bureaucracy. I would recommend that any such meeting be held no earlier than 6 p.m. due to several councilmen in both cities having jobs where daytime meetings are impossible. I also recommend that both solicitors are present as well as mayors and selected staff. One final recommendation is that we have this meeting sooner than later. I propose by mid July.”
Johnson responded promptly to Payton’s proposal.
“Thank you, Mike. I cannot agree more with you concerning the absolute need for our respective governments to communicate and coordinate more and in a better fashion,” Johnson said. “The only two items I might add to your listing, below, is that we should plan to meet jointly at least quarterly and that the discussion also include combining or sharing services.”
At a recent meeting, New Boston Village Council directed Village Solicitor Walter Lytten to schedule separate meetings with the City of Portsmouth and Scioto County engineers to discuss sewer revenue options. The village needs to find a source of revenue to help afford sewer maintenance and upgrades being enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The problem dates back to 1991, when the village and city signed a 30-year contract agreeing that New Boston would maintain all of the sewer lines that pass through the village, and the city would maintain all of the sewer lift stations, and the village would receive no revenue from the city sewer rates.
Since that time, the city has added more sewer customers on Pleasant Avenue, and Scioto County engineers are planning a sewer project on Munn’s Run in Eden Park that will pay the city to run through those village sewer lines. The village says these customers weren’t part of the original agreement and are adding more stress to their lines — which they then have to maintain with no revenue.
To adjust for the increased use, New Boston is asking Portsmouth for 10 percent of the total sewage fees collected on New Boston residents. Village Administrator Steve Hamilton said New Boston residents paid $300,000 in sewage fees to the city of Portsmouth last year, and 10 percent would be $30,000.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at email@example.com