The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

Ottawa County officials wrapped up the first quarter of 2015 by approving a number of pay raises for union and non-union employees.

Most recently, the board of county commissioners approved a contract for road deputies, the third and final division of the deputies to be addressed for the sheriff’s office. The biggest issue was salary, according to Sheriff Steve Levorchick.

Road deputies will receive a 3 percent raise this year followed by two years of raises amounting to 2.75 percent annually.

The contracts for the communications division and the corrections department were approved earlier in the year. They also receive 3 percent raises with 2.5 percent increases in the ensuing years.

However, all the contracts contain a “Me, Too” clause, the sheriff noted. That is, if any other county workers, whether union or non-union, receives a 3 percent raise in the second and third year of the deputies’ contracts, the law enforcement officers will also receive 3 percent raises, Levorchick explained.

Contracts passed deputy approval easily.

“The lady representing the Fraternal Of Police said the negotiations went smoother than they have in years,” Levorchick said. “They were only in session for a couple of hours each.

Oregon City Council on Monday approved a $1.4 million contract with ARCADIS U.S., Inc., for engineering services to design improvements to the water treatment plant.

ARCADIS will provide professional engineering services for preliminary design and detailed design for a high service pump replacement and raw water improvements for the plant.

Soon after Toledo issued a tap water ban to its water customers last August after high levels of microcystin, a toxin created by blue green algae, was detected in samples from its water treatment plant in East Toledo, Oregon approved a $295,000 contract with ARCADIS to provide preliminary testing and design services for ozone water treatment at its own water treatment plant to improve disinfection and treatment of algae and other organics, as well as lower disinfection byproducts from chlorination.

Based on preliminary design results, the water treatment options of applying ozone to settled water and modifying the existing filters for Biological Active Filtration (BAF) were determined to be very effective in destroying microcystin toxins, reducing disinfection byproducts, and improving water taste and odor, according to Public Service Director Paul Roman.

“The report is complete, and there’s no doubt in our mind that ozone is the most effective method for destroying microcystin,” Roman said at the meeting. “Clearly, it will reduce disinfection byproducts, and improve water and taste.”

Local Government Innovation Fund monies have been approved for Ottawa County.

The Ohio Controlling Board has voted to release $500,000 for the county’s engineer’s office to fund upgrades to county facilities, including the highway maintenance garage.

Ron Lajti, county engineer, said the planned improvements are being designed to improve service for 11 townships and the sheriff’s department.

“The changes will facilitate a more efficient and manageable shop for both the storage and the maintenance of equipment used to benefit public entities,” he said.

A concrete floor and new heating and lighting systems will be installed, Lajti said, adding structural enhancements that will open a work area into an existing shop are also planned. The change will make the area more efficient for employees and provide better access for heavy equipment.

“All of the work to be accomplished through this loan funding will be competitively bid out to surrounding contractors,” Lajti said.

State Sen. Randy Gardner said the loan stems from a competitive state program and he credited the county and townships for “putting together a solid proposal.”

A little more than a month before Gov. John Kasich signed Senate Bill 1 – crafted to address algal problems in Lake Erie by limiting the application of fertilizer and manure on fields in the western basin – investigators from the Paulding Soil and Water Conservation District and Ohio Department of Natural Resources were following up on a complaint.

Manure from a holding pond at the Wildcat Dairy facility, permitted to hold 2,100 cows, had been applied to a nearby field that was frozen and covered with snow. After determining application standards for spreading manure on frozen ground, as defined by agriculture pollution abatement regulations, hadn’t been followed, the investigators directed the dairy operator to cease spreading the manure and contain the run-off to stem a discharge into ditches.

The Oregon City Schools District plans to cut up to $500,000 from its budget in an effort to get a 3.95-mill operating levy passed in November.

The cuts will be realized through retirements and attrition, according to Hal Gregory, assistant superintendent of the district.

Getting the levy passed is essential, he said, because the district continues to lose money due to a reduction in property taxes and the state government phasing out tangible personal property taxes for businesses, which created budgetary shortfalls for Oregon and many other school districts in Ohio.

Voters have rejected three previous attempts by the district to get an operating levy passed.

“We’ve had three previous 5.9 mill levies on the ballot that ultimately failed. We’ve listened to the community, and we lowered the millage amount. We’re going to make additional reductions of $500,000 beginning next year that make up that gap,” said Gregory.

The district will not be replacing the following positions:
• Two central office administrators;

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