Thanks from Citizen of the Year
To the editor:
Thank you to the Chamber of Commerce, their board and members, my family and friends....and Salem....what an honor (Outstanding Citizen of the Year) and what an evening!
I'm proud, honored and humbled to have received such a distinguished award and I thank you for allowing me to share in Salem's life. Thank you for your bouquets of flowers and of words, cards, e-mails, phone calls....it's all so very humbling and much appreciated.
God Bless you all....and I wish you a very Merry and Blessed Christmas and a Happy, Healthy and Blessed New Year!
Blessings to all.
RITA JOSEPH O'LEARY,
Administrator addresses water issue
To the editor:
To the residents of Leetonia and Leetonia water customers:
I would like to address the letter sent to the editors of the Morning Journal and the Salem News dated Dec. 17, 2010, author James C. Feist, Leetonia, Ohio, concerning water rates in two communities.
I assume it is Leetonia and Washingtonville communities that he was addressing. Water is the same utility as electric, gas, cable, and phone. Regarding negotiations I don't know of any community that gets to negotiate their rates. Both communities did their due diligence when the contract was negotiated, revised, and signed; we got the best possible deal that was available at the time of the contract signing. All major contracts concerning Leetonia are reviewed and approved by the village solicitor. The solicitor was very involved in the negotiations and preparation of the water contact with the city of Salem. The village of Leetonia has the right to opt out of the contract.
I can understand the concerns about passing on increased cost to the customer; after all I am a customer also and have to pay the same increase as everyone else. Water is like every other commodity, it keeps getting more expensive to produce and that cost has to pass onto the customer who uses the product. Who else would pay for the product and the cost to produce it other then the customer that consumes it? Leetonia still includes the first 1,000 gallons of water used in the minimum water bill.
As far as holding officials from communities accountable for their actions, all business is conducted at an open public meeting. People concerned are encouraged to attend the meetings and help communities solve the concerns being expressed. Unfortunately, there is no magic wand to wave.
For many years water and sewer rates were never raised and unfortunately that lack of response to an ever increasing cost of operation is what has us in the position we are in today, short of funds to run the village. Unfortunately the customer is who has to pay for services and products, unless someone wants to pay everyone's bill for them or start giving away products and services. Leetonia still has to maintain our water and sewer systems (infrastructure) no matter where or who we get our water source from. Residents are not being charged for lines in front of their house, but the village has to have funds available to maintain them if there is a problem such as a water line leak/break.
No one likes increases, and we expressed that to the Salem Utilities Commission when they raised our rates without any consideration being showed back for my concerns pertaining to the water customers of Leetonia. Leetonia is a small community and the cost cannot be spread out over as many customers (large customer base) as a large community and that is why any increase seems to affect everyone a little harder.
GARY E. PHILLIPS,