Plain City deal to partner with Columbus for water stalls

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With the decision stalled on whether Plain City will join their water service with the City of Columbus, the village is moving forward with a backup plan.
Village Council introduced legislation Monday evening that would rescind the petition to join Columbus for water treatment and sewer services. If a deal cannot be reached between the village and Columbus, the legislation will move through the three readings process, Village Administrator Nathan Cahall said.
“The village could not reach an agreement with the City of Columbus on the existing petition so there were some revisions made,” Cahall said. “We’re looking to have the boundaries drawn so that essentially, the city would just be responsible for water and wastewater services and there would be no question with regard to annexing land.”
Cahall said the village solicitor reached out to the City of Columbus to meet and discuss the revised petition but no meeting has been set.
“If the village and City of Columbus cannot reach an agreement, we have contingencies in place to move forward on water services,” Cahall said.
He said the village would take a two-prong approach and possibly take the service in-house.
The plan would involve expanding parts of the existing water plant in the short term and doing a larger expansion in the long term. This is all dependent on the agreement between Plain City and Columbus, Cahall said.
“With the opportunity for development in the village, Plain City would have the ability to expand our treatment,” he added.
The conversation has been ongoing between officials in Plain City, Columbus, Union County and Madison County for more than a year; however, the final deal had the green light from everyone but Union County officials.
The commissioners stated previously that they had some concern with the City of Columbus annexing Union County land and wanted an agreement in writing saying that would not be the case before they would sign the petition.
Conversations to extend Columbus water service to Plain City began in early 2018 but an agreement could not be made between the parties. The petition was reworked in December 2018 to only include land inside the village limits and in Madison County.
The petition had made it to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for approval, the final step after approval from Plain City and Madison County, but the deal has stalled for several months.
Legislation to rescind the petition was brought in for a first reading, but wasn’t discussed in any detail Monday evening.
Language in the resolution states, “the village and the City of Columbus have not been able to come to a mutually satisfactory agreement upon the terms and conditions of (the) master service agreement.”
“This legislative action serves more as a placeholder until we hear from the City of Columbus,” Cahall said. “We do have plans in place if we can’t reach an agreement. Plain City has many options and will have no issues moving forward either way.”



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