HUBER HEIGHTS — Water, and how to get it from here to there, occupied much of Huber Heights City Council’s time on Monday night.
Council first tested the water with the city’s water pressure project for areas north of Interstate 70. The project has been approved by council but was slowed down last month when reports surfaced that a couple city employees told an elected official that the project was not going to improve water pressure. That led to an investigation of the employees as well as a request from council that the city seek a report from an outside engineering firm on the pressurization project.
City Manager Rob Schommer told council that the investigation found no evidence that the employees made the statements and that a preliminary report showed the project would be successful. He also said if council wanted a full, written report then it would require a review by a civil engineer, which would take more time and cost up to $5,000. He said he was concerned the city was taking too much time to get the project started and suggested the city proceed with the project.
Councilman Richard Shaw said he would be interested in spending the money to have extra peace of mind about the project. Councilman Seth Morgan then asked Schommer if his recommendation to proceed was based on the internal investigation of the employees or the preliminary review of the project. When Schommer said it was based on the investigation, since the project would already have started if not for the accusations, Morgan suggested holding a closed door meeting to discuss the investigation.
Council did just that at the end of the night. After the executive session, Mayor Jeff Gore announced there would be no action taken concerning the employees. After the meeting, he said there should be an announcement soon on when the project will proceed.
Water came up again later in the evening when council considered a resolution that would create a special tap-in district to allow three properties on Mark Avenue to tap into the city water delivery system. Residents would be assessed a $5,000 fee.
While no council members spoke against the resolution, Morgan expressed concern that the city was getting “the cart before the horse.” He said he thought the city should have some policy guidelines on such districts before passing legislation. He said he was concerned it would set a “political and policy precedent” that might be cited in the future for similar projects.
City Law Director Gerald McDonald explained the resolution did include some broad policy guidelines. Councilman Ed Lyons, who had made the motion on the resolution, said he agreed with Morgan but that he did not want the residents to wait much longer on the long-discussed project. Maybe, he suggested, a compromise could be reached.
In the end, that’s what happened. Lyons withdrew his motion in return for the assurance that council would discuss using the guidelines McDonald referred to as a basis for a policy statement. Council will discuss that at its next work session and bring the issue back for a vote at its next council meeting, which will take place in two weeks.
Council will meet July 23 at 7 p.m. in city hall. The work session will be held at 6 p.m., July 16, at city hall.
Reach Dave Lindeman at (937) 684-8983 or on Twitter @HH_Courier.