SALINEVILLE-At last Tuesday's meeting the Salineville village council members voiced their displeasure over the fact Buckeye Water District is using the steel storage building and other areas at the former village water treatment facility.
Multiple council members have attested to seeing Buckeye's trucks parked outside the water treatment facility and lights turned on inside the facility on a regular basis.
Councilmen Jim Howdershelt who formerly headed up the properties committee announced to the council that he contacted Buckeye to inquire about their activities at the plant. He reported speaking to Buckeye District Manager Al DeAngelis who informed him the water district is permitted to use the property due to Management Agreement voluntarily entered into by the village and Buckeye in 2007.
Council member Rick Beadle contended that the water treatment plant had been 'decommissioned', was no longer part of the Salineville Water System and therefore should no longer be used by Buckeye.
The water treatment plant ceased being used to treat water 2 years ago when water lines provided by Buckeye were hooked up to the village according to Beadle.
The Management agreement, of which copies were made available to all council members, specifies which village property falls under Buckeye's management as part of the "Salineville Water System". The agreement reads in part, "The village desires to appoint and designate Buckeye as the Manager of its treatment facility and distribution system (collectively hereinafter referred to as Salineville Water System)." Council perceived this wording as essentially giving Buckeye indefinite use of the water treatment facility.
A copy of a letter to Howdershelt from DeAngelis explaining the Water District's use of the facility and justification for doing so was also provided to all council members at the meeting. DeAngelis' letter stated: "As I expressed to you, the Water District uses the old treatment plant and also the steel building beside the water plant for storage of material and equipment so that the distribution employees would not have to travel to Wellsville and then back to Salineville thus saving time and gas."
There was disagreement amongst council as to which village administration presided over the Management Agreement between the village and Buckeye. Some council members believed it was the administration of former Mayor Dave Berta, while others thought former Mayor Suzan Scary was involved. However, the majority of council members were in agreement that the Management Agreement mislead council at the time about the nature of the agreement. "It doesn't matter who voted it in the facts is that this is not what that council understood," said Rick Beadle. "The council was buffaloed into doing this."
When contacted for comment Beadle, who served on the council that worked on the Management Agreement with Buckeye, stood by his belief that the Management Agreement was bad for the village. " In my opinion, the way that letter reads and the way they're reading the Management Agreement they're acting like their going to use our plant building and utilize our storage facility indefinitely." said Beadle, who added "I'm still against the way the Management Agreement came out-I'm 100% against all of it."
Implored by councilmen Howdershelt to help council make sense of the agreement at Tuesday's meeting, village Solicitor Andy Beech said, "The agreement says what it says and you have a copy of it. If council approved it, this council is bound by anything prior councils have done. Whether or not you sat on it (the council), you're bound by it." When questioned by council members as to what village property falls under Buckeye's control as part of the agreement, Beech informed council that all their water assets are subject to the agreement. "Typically what you do when you transfer your water system, you transfer all your water assets, your plant, your water line -everything." said Beech.
Various courses of action to resolve the issue were discussed by council. Rick Beadle suggested sending a letter in response to the one sent by Buckeye's Al DeAngelis. Mayor Mary Smith pointed out that the end of the letter invites council to set up a meeting with the Water District and suggested the council take advantage of the offer. Jim Howdershelt stated that he too was told that Buckeye was willing to meet with council, however, he insisted Buckeye did not want the media at the meeting. The council disagreed stating the media should be at the meeting.
When at one point in the discussion of what should be done to prevent Buckeye from indefinitely using the facility playfully drifted into suggestions of bulldozing the bridge to the facility, Mayor Smith halted the conversation citing a need for the village to have a good relationship with the company that manages their water system. "This is getting out of hand, were supposed to be working with departments not fighting with them," said Smith. New chairmen of the properties committee, Zeb Locklear, declared a properties meetings at 6:30 p.m. before next counsel meeting Feb 4.