Letter: Funding formula was not proposed

I would like to set the record straight in regards to the Black Swamp Sewer and Water District Advisory Committee, a voluntary, non-paid Putnam County citizens group composed of a business person, a retired banker, a high school teacher, a village water board member, a village council member, and a retired Township Trustee/County Commissioner.

I believe we had a broad cross section of Putnam County people, all political beliefs and geographic areas as well as village and township residents. We were tasked by the commissioners to find a structure for a possibly proposed Sewer and Water District that would be practical and workable for Putnam County. We met with the commissioners and their legal advisor on sewer and water matters in the courthouse meeting room in monthly publicly announced meetings. The name was settled on, a seven-member board of directors’ structure settled on with three members elected by the Township Association and three members elected by the Mayor’s Association in consultation with their village councils. The seventh member would be elected by the six members, who if they couldn’t agree after 60 days, the county commissioners would appoint the seventh member.

All seven members would be appointed and subject to removal by the elected public official bodies. The board of directors would be directed by the elected officials. Any sewer or water project proposed could not be attempted without the approval of the citizens affected. No existing municipality with sewer and/or water would pay to take on a village or area in need of these services. The village or area in need of the service would have to pay the cost of the service. The focus of the sewer and water district would be to access grant money for the villages or areas who desired a system or were under findings and orders from the EPA.

In cooperation with the Putnam County Board of Health, Commissioner’s Office, township trustees, village councils, Economic Development groups, private citizens and businesses our focus was positive and inclusive. The initial funding was discussed but no formula proposed or agreed to.

As for the issue of commissioner involvement in the meetings and public hearings, one commissioner was always there, the second was there most of the time, and the third was rarely there or left early. Attendance and statements or questions are public record and are available at the commissioners’ office.

— Bob Riepenhoff, Ottawa