At Wednesday’s Washington Court House City Council Meeting, council member Caleb Johnson addressed the Washington C.H. City Schools students who were present during the meeting, along with other young people in the community.
There were approximately 12 students present as their teacher, council member Dale Lynch, offered them extra credit for taking part in the experience. During final comments, Johnson brought up a couple different topics but one of which was said while looking around at the students.
“Some of the key differences between Washington Court House and other areas—if you look at Washington Court House, it’s not really located between many cities,” said Johnson. “It’s actually located between Appalachia and what is considered not Appalachia. That 71 divide really is a whole marker of where I believe Appalachia begins and ends. We’re right here.”
“With the comparable cities of Washington Court House, you have to take into account that these are areas with historically lower property values,” he explained. “We don’t have the flash, and the glitz and the glam of big cities. That is true for everywhere in Appalachia except for one town—a college town, Ohio University in Athens. It really shows the impact though that young people can have on an area.”
“So, one of the issues that we have in particularly, is that all of you highly intelligent, highly capable individuals leave and you won’t come back. I’m not saying that you will, but where others in your age range might leave this city—perhaps take a second look. There’s a lot of opportunity, even if—even if you don’t think that we have reached some level of greatness,” he said.
“And admittedly we’re not Columbus,” said Johnson. “Even if you think that, you cannot deny that you can have a real impact in a smaller city unlike the impact that you could potentially have in Columbus. That might be something that really matters to you, so consider that.”
Also during the meeting, City Manager Joe Denen spoke about the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WTP) construction project.
The subject was brought up as there were two resolutions placed on first reading involving the WTP project.
As previously reported, ordinances and resolutions are two different types of legislation. The first time legislation is seen and approved by council it is placed on a first reading, the second time on a second reading and the third time on a third reading. Adoption of new legislation can occur once ordinances are placed on the third reading and resolutions are placed on the second reading.
One of those new resolutions, if passed, would allow Denen or his designee to enter into a contract with CH2M Hill Engineers for engineering improvements to the WTP in an amount not to exceed $5,800,000.
The other new resolution, if passed, would allow Denen or his designee to enter into a contract with CTL Engineering Inc. for engineering improvements, material testing and special inspection services during construction of the WTP. The amount of this contract is not to exceed $437,396.
Denen explained that the purpose of having this resolution is to avoid an interruption of WTP services.
“You can’t turn off a wastewater treatment plant,” he said. “It still has to process what comes down the pipes which can be a challenge because, essentially, you have to rebuild something while at the same time maintaining services.”
As previously reported, there was a resolution adopted at a previous council meeting that authorized Denen or his designee to accept a bid and enter into the primary contract with Dugan & Meyers for improvements to the WTP. The amount of that contract was not to exceed $51,581,000.
“The total construction project is about $51 and a half million dollars,” said Denen.
Those construction costs, according to Denen, are funded by a water completion control loan fund.
As previously reported, there are some grants and special financing through the Ohio Water Development Authority that will be utilized as well, according to Denen.
Denen further discussed the process and explained further in-depth on being careful of what is passed that could effect the cost of the project as well as mentioning to check with the EPA on certain aspects of the project.
There were five resolutions placed on second reading and all five were then adopted. There were no ordinances discussed.
Of the five resolutions that were adopted, four of them confirms the reappointment of several members to the Carnegie Public Library Board of Trustees for terms ending on Dec. 31 of 2023. Those members are Mary Lorane Davis, William Harris, Jean Ann Davis and Marge Hall.
The fifth resolution that was adopted authorizes Denen to enter into a cooperative agreement with the director of transportation of Ohio. The agreement allows the state to carry out a bridge inspection program which checks for various safety measures and potential concerns.
Washington Court House City Council meetings are held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month at 7:30 p.m. They are located in the second floor council chambers of the City Administration Building, 105 N. Main Street. The public is welcome to attend and may sign up to speak before the council.
Reach Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355 or on Twitter @JennMWoods.