County engineer’s office outlines surface water management fee structure

by Laura Bednar

Aug. 7 township trustees meeting

David Koontz, surface water management coordinator for the Summit County Engineer’s Office, summarized for Bath Township trustees projects and fee changes in the Surface Water Management District.

All nine townships in Summit County are under the SWMD; district fees have been posted to property tax bills since the beginning of 2023. Bath is classified as a special district and will remain so until June 2024. As of 2025, Bath residents will no longer pay special district fees.

Koontz explained that residents will no longer pay a residential sewer fee. The county fee will go towards stormwater projects specifically in Bath. Resident R.J. Bradner asked what would happen to the money in Bath’s special district fee account. Koontz said the money will remain with the township until Bath decides to spend it. The SWMD-Bath has $600,000 available for projects with an additional anticipated $600,000 over the next two years, a total of $1.2 million.

Annual fees will be based on the size of the lot and the value of the improvements on the lot. Koontz said the average value of a home and average size of a Bath lot are probably larger than the average countywide so “Residents will likely pay more.”

He said the fee structure was developed with input from SWMD stakeholders, the Ohio Farm Bureau and multiple townships’ trustees. The average homeowner in the SWMD area will pay approximately $50 annually, and the maximum fee for a single-family home is $100 per year. The annual acreage fee for vacant land is $18.

Ongoing projects

The SWMD has $18 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds, which Koontz said will be used for MS4 (municipal storm sewer systems) mapping to backtrack pollution to its source, watershed studies and priority construction projects.

He gave examples of ongoing projects within Bath Township, starting with the Yellowcreek Watershed study, which includes priority project re-evaluation and watercourse mapping.

The Wye Road flood mitigation drainage improvement project is located primarily in the Sanctuary subdivision. Work includes enlarging the existing detention basin, mitigating flooding on two lots and reducing in-stream erosion. The first phase, detention basin expansion, is slated to begin this fall and costs $682,137. Eighty percent of funding for phase one will be covered through a grant, and the remainder will come from Bath’s SWMD fees.

The Idlebrook Bankfull Wetlands project, located between N. Hametown and Crystal Lake roads within the Yellowcreek Watershed, will, according to Koontz, re-establish the stream’s connection to adjacent floodplains, remove invasive species and reconstruct wetlands with native plants. Project cost is estimated at between $1.5 million and $3 million and will be covered by ARPA funds.

The Ohio Department of Transportation is adding a third lane to I-77 and will include 20 vegetated filter strips in the Bath segment as well as an overflow pipe under Yellow Creek Road to Yellow Creek.

SWMD grading application fees have been raised to $50 with a permit fee of $250.

“New home sites will be reviewed and inspected,” said Koontz. “This may allow the county to get involved in grading issues.” He noted county involvement could prevent neighbors from suing each other over projects that affect their property.

In other action

The police department paid Hall Public Safety Upfitters $6,000 to install Getac in-car dash camera systems in eight cruisers. Police Chief Vito Sinopoli said dispatch can open the dash cams in real time to see what officers see.

The fire department will pay Breathing Air Systems $62,060 for a breathing air compressor, fill station and storage system to replace the current 35-year-old system. Fire Chief Robert Campbell said the cost is covered through donations.

The service department contracted with Four Points Architectural Services to work up a plan to expand the service building. Service Director Caine Collins said the service building needs more storage space, added restrooms and locker rooms to accommodate men and women.

Township trustees approved the purchase of a new RD12A Roller from Indy Equipment for $20,166. ∞