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Massillon Takes Closer Look at $24 Million Wastewater Plant Upgrade

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City Council plans to take a closer look at a $24 million project to improve the city’s Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Councilman Ed Lewis, R-Ward 6, said Tuesday night the city’s share in the proposed project is not specific, and suggested council needs more time to discuss specifics of the plan.

Cost of the project is to be shared among Stark County, with some funding provided by the Ohio Water Development Authority via the state Environmental Protection Agency. This city’s portion of the project appears to be about half of the approximately $24 million.

“The 50-50 split might be adjusted some,” Lewis said. “We don’t have exact numbers from the county.”

The bulk of the project includes increasing the capacity of hydraulic and biological treatments of the wastewater plant, 100 Big Indian River Drive SW, in preparation for future growth, according to City Engineer Keith Dylewski, noting the EPA is requiring certain improvements be completed within a few years.

Upgrades to the system also would allow the plant to increase its pumping capacity from 15 million gallons of water per day to about 17 million, Dylewski said.

The city is expected to seek a loan for its portion of the funding, and construction on the upgrades could begin as soon as 18 months, said Dylewski. Funding through a loan could be secured as early as this year, he added.

Dylewski said a rate study likely would determine whether a residential and commercial customer rate hike will be needed to help pay for the loan. Any rate increase would have to be approved by City Council.

One councilman voiced opposition Tuesday to the wastewater project, while another appeared in favor of it.

“I’m not sold on the project,” said Councilman at-large Milan Chovan, a Republican.

Councilman at-large Paul Manson, a Democrat, noted that running the city oftentimes involves approving rate increases.

“We need to be looking at these things for the future,” he said.

n Council members also agreed Tuesday to remove the “emergency” language in the wastewater plant proposal, thus allowing the public the right to challenge any approved ordinance in the future via a petition process and ballot initiative.

If the measure had passed Tuesday, any option for the public to petition would have been prohibited, said city Law Director Perry Stergios.

 

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