NEWARK — Granville Township daycare owner Britney Lang has heard its activity qualified as essentialbut connections to public services and financial aid proved elusive.
The water service she needs has reached the adjacent property as part of the River Road Watermain Extension Project, but she cannot afford all of the charges demanded by the Village of Granville. The only cost to get water will be over $130,000.
US bailout financial aid it seeks to reach out to state, county, township, and village governments, but has been unsuccessful in securing any of these funds.
Kids Education and Recreation, located at 1062 River Road, just outside the village limits of Granville, opened in 2020, two weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic changed everyone’s life.
His options are to continue with a private well, septic tank and pay for costly three-weekly Environmental Protection Agency water tests, or close the business, which has 140 children and 30 employees.
“Day care centers have very small profit margins, and these (care) fees are just prohibitive right now,” Lang said. “Our goal is to stay open and continue services to meet the needs of families.
Lang met with village, township and county officials, but could not find a solution. And those officials don’t all agree on the reasons for Lang’s predicament or how to resolve it.
State Rep. Mark Fraizer, R-Newark, joined Lang in a Thursday meeting with Licking County commissioners. Fraizer said not investing in water and wastewater becomes a barrier to development.
“Child care is an issue that everyone has,” Fraizer said. “She cannot continue to operate. Here is the case study explaining why water and wastewater are so important to our community. This is a very convincing example. If we can’t figure out how to get children clean water, we’re missing the point.
Utility costs questioned
The commissioners questioned the village’s costs for the water service. Lang must pay $109,000 to extend the water line over the 2 acres in front of his property, a connection fee of $14,497 for the main building and $4,349 for a second building.
This amounts to $127,846, which does not include payment for an outside contractor to run a line between the building and the street. And, sewer costs could be similar, Lang said, which would double total costs to more than $260,000.
County Commissioner Duane Flowers, a builder of 45 years, said it made no sense to charge Lang for a 12-inch water pipe on his property.
“Here’s my problem with the whole concept here,” Flowers said. “They are forcing her to run a clear water pipe across the front of her property. The faucet could be on the west side of her property and not the front. Give her a 2 inch water faucet. It would be so simple to run (one tap) to a building and remove it.
Lang says she doesn’t want to annex to the village to get a reduced cost.
“They’ll be able to dictate every move we make there and it’s not an easy process,” Lang said.
Bubb said it would be a costly decision.
“If you don’t want to annex, Granville is going to stick with you to extend the lines,” Bubb said.
Granville Village Superintendent Herb Koehler took issue with Bubb’s description of the situation.
“It’s an unfair comment,” Koehler said. “This is patently unfair. In most municipalities, when a property is annexed, the water must run the full width of the property line to the next property line in case the next one ends up by annexing.”
Once the lines are installed, the cost of water service is doubled for non-residents of the village, Koehler said.
US Bailout Fund
The village cannot use the money from the American Rescue Plan Act for construction outside the villagebut he can use it for design work, Koehler said.
The village, township and county have collaborated on a project – the replacement of cast iron water mains in the Burtridge Subdivision, which has been supplied with water by the village since the 1970s without annexation. Granville Township used all of its ARP money, which was $457,000, along with $675,000 from the county for the project.
Ken Oswalt, chief compliance officer for the commissioners, said the Village of Granville is considering seeking funding for the $600,000 River Road project from the county’s $34 million ARPA pot.
“Several entities, Granville being one of them, have sent in a few proposals, this being one of them,” Oswalt said of the River Road project. For reasons of which I have no idea, Granville abandoned this proposal. their radar and I don’t know why.
Koehler said it was Oswalt’s advice that led him to only submit the Burtridge project as a funding request out of four projects being considered.
“The county advised us of the four, Burtridge most fully met the criteria and this was identified as the one the commissioners would support,” Koehler said. “I would say he and I have a different recollection of what happened. We submitted it and were told by him that the Burtridge portion better met the criteria.
Granville Township Administrator Bryn Bird agreed with Koehler’s version of the application process. She said they went to the commissioners with $12 million in project requests, but they were told that The $1.2 million Burtridge project was the only one approved.
“We were told there would be no funds available,” Bird said. “The village and the township worked hand in hand. The Burtridge project was the most responsive because it was primarily residential, which is what the ARPA money was most intended for. The township committed all of our money to the Burtridge project.
Bubb said the funds went to projects that helped the most people.
“Most of the ARPA money has been committed to major infrastructure, water and sewer projects in the county,” Bubb said.
Bird said it would have been “courteous” of Fraizer to speak with township or village officials before the meeting with the commissioners, or to invite them to the meeting. Fraizer said at the meeting that he plans to speak with village and township officials.