SABINA — An earlier loan for the village sewer plant is now paid off, and as a result the necessity to pay on both a new and an old sewer loan has ended.
Sabina Mayor Dean Hawk said 2015 has been “a worrisome year for us as we had to start making payments on the new sanitary sewer reconstruction work … while we were still paying for the old sewer plant.”
Village officials had foreseen the dual sewer payments circumstances “since [the time] we were forced to start the reconstruction project to satisfy the Environmental Protection Agency requirements,” said Hawk during his mayor’s report for Thursday night’s council meeting.
In addition to announcing that the earlier loan is completely paid, Hawk said the village was able to make its first-year payments on the new sanitary sewer loan and be “in the black.”
“It is tight but we are in budget,” he added.
Another piece of good news, said Hawk, is that the sewer reconstruction project was finished under budget.
The Ohio Water Development Authority loan toward the project has a remaining balance of $435,450 that was budgeted but not drawn, according to the mayor.
“Since we didn’t borrow it, we won’t be paying interest on it or paying it back. By my calculations, that saves every household in Sabina about $400 over the next 20 years,” Hawk said.
Hawk on Thursday also reported he attended a pre-construction meeting that morning with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) regarding the bike trail that will have Sabina and the village’s park within its 6.9-miles route.
The project contractor plans to start work “very soon,” and moreover will work all winter except when weather makes it impossible, the mayor related.
Trail workers will not pour blacktop until springtime, added Hawk.
The multi-use trail will stretch from Melvin Road east of Wilmington to Borum Road in Clinton County.
During Sabina Fiscal Officer Nancy L. Cornell’s scheduled report, among other things she broke down the fees from the State of Ohio’s financial audit of the village for 2013 and 2014.
So far, the regular biennial audit has cost the village $17,992, said Cornell, adding, “which is ridiculous.”
She said the cost includes time spent auditing, and time in Columbus when the auditors go back to their office and discuss things with their bosses.
The state auditors had projected a price tag of $18,450, plus $1,055 in consulting costs, for a total of $19,505, according to Cornell.
“They’ve got to be finishing pretty soon,” the fiscal officer said.
A big reason for the amount of the state auditors’ time and expense for the village is because the state monitoring officials last year rejected source splitting of Sabina utility workers’ wages that had reflected the time that employees worked in the various infrastructure departments of water, sewer, and streets, Cornell said.
The state auditors would not accept splitting up the sources of utility workers’ wages into thirds, she said, because the revenue sources involve restricted funds.
During the time in the meeting provided for public comment, Abe Arnold — one of four candidates Nov. 3 for two available council seats — offered congratulations to James Mongold, who was in attendance. Mongold and Michael Walls were the two top vote-getters for the spots.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.