HUBER HEIGHTS — Insufficient water pressure in some areas of Huber Heights caused some increased blood pressure at Monday night’s city council meeting.
The issue is low water pressure in some areas of the city located north of Interstate 70. City staff’s recommendation to solve the problems is the creation of the Huber Heights North Pressure Zone, which includes a $2.4 million project to increase water pressure in that area.
“Council is planning to move forward on a project of $2.4 million of taxpayer money for an undocumented need by unnamed businesses for an area that has no identified particular need for it,” Huber Heights Mayor Tom McMasters said. “My recommendation is to not move forward until we get from staff an indication of what kind of businesses are going in there, how much they need and how much they would be willing to contribute to a project like this going forward.”
Council Member Janelle Smith, who represents Ward 2 which includes much of the area in question, said it is important that the city move forward with the project.
“I’m going to echo what my colleagues have said earlier and that is we’ve been talking about this for a few months now, and again it’s the 11th hour and we’re bringing in what you don’t like about it. My question to you Mr. Mayor is going to be, at what point are we going to roll out the red carpet instead of rolling out the red tape?”
McMasters said there wasn’t enough research done on the project and it is possible that a much less costly answer could be found.
Part of the discussion revolved around a city water pressure map from 2007 that council members first saw Monday afternoon. That map showed a number of areas south of Interstate 70 that also have water pressure problems.
Council Member Glenn Otto said he was surprised that the map showed there are as many water pressure problems south of I-70 as there are north of the highway. But he said he felt it was time to move forward with the project. “I believe this is about providing proper infrastructure to members of our community whether they be businesses or residents,” he said.
Tyler Starline, who represents Ward 3 south of the interstate, said his area also has water pressure problems and he didn’t feel he had been provided enough information to support the project. “As I have said time and time again, it is not the job of this council to rubber stamp anything, it is for us to verify. I have too many questions and not enough answers.” He suggested council put off the vote to provide time to compile more information.
Council Member Ed Lyons defended the city staff’s work and cited detailed reports provided by the city engineer.
Council eventually decided to move ahead by approving a resolution that allows City Manager Rob Schommer to enter into a contract for engineering plans for the project. The vote passed 7-1 with Starline voting no.
Schommer also said he would contact the consultants who compiled the water pressure map to get more information.
While council decided to move ahead with the water pressure plans, it held off on a proposed ordinance on door-to-door solicitors. The ordinance was up for approval Monday but was moved to a fourth reading after McMasters raised questions about the plan.
McMasters asked whether charitable groups that went door-to-door to raise funds – such as Boy Scouts selling popcorn – would need to have a license. The answer to that question was yes.
He also asked if people such as politicians who went door to door with information would have to get licenses if they passed out information that directed residents to a website where they could contribute funds – which could be categorized as “indirect” solicitation, which is mentioned in the ordinance.
Schommer said the ordinance would prevent solicitors from knocking on doors of residents who posted no soliciting signs and would not require licenses for canvassers who are not attempting to sell a product but simply are providing information.
“Those folks who want to be not disturbed at home can post a no solicitation sign and it allows an enforceable law to prevent anyone who does that without permission of the homeowner to do so,” he said.
Starline suggested council hold off on the ordinance and further discuss definitions of terms and details. Lyons supported the idea, saying he had more questions on the subject as well. Council agreed and will take the issue up at its next work session.
Reach David Lindeman at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @HH_Courier.