City to meet with Army Corps over water-billing issues

By John Hamilton -

WILMINGTON — “We finally got their attention,” said Safety/Service Director Brian Shidaker.

During Thursday night’s Wilmington City Council Meeting, Shidaker announced that he’ll have a face-to-face meeting with the Army Corps of Engineers on Oct. 22 at Caesar Creek Lake, the city’s primary water source.

“I don’t know the nature of what our discussion will be, but I have to believe it deals with our contract,” said Shidaker.

“I feel like we’re finally being heard, and we’ll see how it goes,” he said.

This comes after months of discovering what the city believes are unfair water-related costs billed to them, originating from the Corps. They also believe the contract between the city and the Army is not fair to the city.

For about the first 20 years of the contract, annual operations and maintenance bills averaged between $100,000 and $150,000. The bills skyrocketed to $289,000 in 2017 and $481,000 in 2018, forcing the city to take action.

“As we suspected, the Army Corps has continuously billed us for thousands of items that have nothing to do with water storage,” Shidaker told the News Journal in July.

Shidaker added Thursday that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has been extremely helpful in facilitating the meeting.

Water Committee Chairperson Kelsey Swindler commended Shidaker and Water Superintendent Rick Schaffer for making it possible, as well as the ODNR.

“I trust they have all the information they need, specifically due to Rick’s work in going through eleven years of expenses. He has done an incredible amount of homework leading up to this,” said Swindler.

By John Hamilton