Resident questions sewer line charge


Trustees tabled a decision on whether to oppose an annexation, listened to an elderly resident’s complaint about a sewer line assessment and heard from their state representative during a meeting which covered several topics Monday.

Depot Road resident Doris Boughton said she had a gripe about what she recently learned about her tax bill regarding an assessment for a sewer line extension from a few years ago. She said she didn’t need the sewer service and didn’t want it, so when she asked why her taxes had gone up, she was taken aback when told “I owe it for the sewer and I owe $8,000.”

The sewer line was installed when some Perry Township residents sought the service and the township, city of Salem and Columbiana County worked to get it done. At the time when the final cost to residents came out, it was explained that even if someone did not hook into the system, they would still owe for a share of the cost of installing the line.

She didn’t recall ever getting a bill or a letter explaining anything to her.

“I know I’m old, but I’m not that stupid,” she said.

Boughton talked to a neighbor and heard they received a letter with a deadline to pay a lesser amount and she questioned why she didn’t receive a letter.

Trustee Chairman Cliff Mix explained that the sewer lines belong to the city of Salem and referred her to Salem Utilities Superintendent Don Weingart.

Concerning the proposed annexation, which was filed as a Type II expedited petition, Mix said he didn’t know what they could do about it, if anything. The trustees received a letter from an attorney notifying them about the proposed annexation by the Mark Shivers Trust and giving them 25 days to file an objection. The request involved 1.3456 acres of land on Benton Road involving two adjoining but separate parcels. According to township Fiscal Officer Susan Johnston, everything around the property is located in the city.

State Rep. Tim Ginter, R-Salem, visited with trustees to ask if they needed anything.

“Get us more money,” Mix said.

“That seems to be a common theme as a I go from place to place,” Ginter said, referencing more Local Government Funds.

Mix said the township was actually in good shape, but invited him to talk about what he’s doing in Columbus. Ginter updated trustees on the Medicaid Managed Care Organization sales tax, which he said was eliminated in the last state budget and could have a $2 million impact on Columbiana County. When the House put the tax back in place, Gov. John Kasich vetoed that part, then the House overrode the veto. Now it’s up for debate in the state Senate.

Mix asked about the large size of the rainy day fund, but Ginter said it’s really only enough to operate the government for 32 days if something happened and the state had to dip into it for operations.

Ginter said he’s carrying five bills and has four more bills in the process, noting that one bill was inspired by East Liverpool Disabled Veterans, who recently got a tax bill for land recently given to them. He said only two states, Ohio and Arizona, collected tax on property for veterans groups who are normally tax-exempt. He said the bill is ready for the House floor. Another bill promotes an option of a locked, coded lid for pill containers for opioids and another bill reduces the amount of fentanyl someone can have in their possession before facing charges and increases the charge to a more serious felony three.

He thanked trustees for all the work they do,