Township officials to gauge interest in pursuing county water connection

by Melissa Martin

March 7 township trustees meeting

By 2-1 vote, the Hinckley board of trustees rejected an $8,500 proposal to hire Mentor-based CT Consultants to help secure grant funding to lessen the cost of extending county water lines to township center.

Jennifer Brown, a funding specialist for CT Consultants, apprised the board of numerous grants and other funding mechanisms available to Hinckley to improve water service and quality.

In addition to enumerating many of the more popular money sources, including grants and loans available through the Ohio Public Works Commission and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, Brown mentioned several less publicized grants, along with state and federal earmarks, for which Hinckley could qualify.

Though trustees Monique Ascherl and Jack Swedyk said they are in favor of pursuing grant funding, they believe the township first has to reach a consensus that residents and businesses in the affected area are willing to pay for the project.

“[The township would have to spend] $8,500 up front with no guaranty of any return on that investment,” Swedyk said. “And even if [the township is awarded] grant money, we’re still looking at having to assess [residents and businesses] that might not want to sign off on that.”

Estimates provided by Medina County Sanitary Engineer Jeremy Sinko show that extending the water line to approximately 65 parcels near the intersection of Center and Ridge roads would cost approximately $2 million, an amount that would be assessed to residents and businesses that would benefit from the project. Each resident would be assessed approximately $32,000 over 20 years, Sinko said, along with an additional $10,000 — $20,000 to tie into the waterline, depending on the length of the tie-in and degree of difficulty in making the connection.

To learn whether property owners in the town center would support the project, Ascherl said the township is working with the Medina County Engineer’s Office to mail a letter to residents and businesses affected by the project. In addition to outlining the cost, the letter will ask for residents to reveal if they would support the project.

“This is something we said we were initially going to do in November – send out a letter to see if there is interest,” said Ascherl, who presented a draft copy of the letter devised with Sinko’s assistance.

Both Swedyk and Trustee Melissa Augustine told Ascherl they support mailing the letters, but Augustine said she believes the letter also should include information about funding that reduces resident assessments..

“I feel like what we’re giving them right now is extremely daunting,” she said. “We at least need to mention that the township is going to try and pursue grant money if we decide to move forward.”

Swedyk said after responses to the letter are tallied, the board will decide whether pursuing the project, including grant funding, is feasible. ∞