PREBLE COUNTY — Jerry Wick presented a petition regarding sewage flowing from a local trailer park to the Preble County Commissioners during their meeting on Monday, Feb. 3.
The petition was also submitted to Preble County Prosecuting Attorney Martin P. Votel, regarding the sewage Wick claims is flowing into county ditches and streams from the trailer park located at 32 Quaker Trace Road and various homes in the Glenwood area of West Alexandria.
The submitted petition demands legal action again all parties allowing the “contamination and health crisis” to continue, and has 44 signatures.
“We’ve tentatively hired counsel [regarding] this, so we’re going to go down different roads,” Wick said.
Wick then returned to a previous conversation with Commissioner Rodney Creech, asking if there is nothing the board can do, then why did they sign the order and findings with Ohio EPA.
“If there is nothing you can do about Sewer District 6, then why did you sign the findings?” He asked.
Commissioner Chris Day answered, “It is either sign the findings, or they take it over and we have nothing.”
Creech and Day both reminded Wick the Preble County Commissioners were advised by their legal counsel to sign the orders and findings.
Wick replied, he spoke to various attorneys who said the board should have never signed the order and findings.
“There is nothing we can do and we were advised to sign the order and findings by the Prosecutor’s Office. Why have an attorney if you’re not going to listen to them? If you’re hiring an attorney, you better listen to them, Jerry. You don’t do the opposite of what they say,” Creech said.
Wick noted, the Preble County Prosecutor’s Office wasn’t hired, but Creech pointed out that they’re elected.
“Right, but they can be un-elected,” Wick said.
“Trust me,” Creech responded. “I was the biggest fighter of this when it came when I was a township trustee — I’ve been on it since the beginning. It’s good to see you. Jerry, I love you to death and it’s good to see you, but all I’m going to tell you is that there is nothing we can do. You’re doing the right thing doing a civil [suit].”
Wick noted, he sent a packet to Ohio EPA with pictures he has taken from the trailer park. His next move is to get Children Services involved, since three kids are picked up for school at that location and Wick believes it is unsanitary.
“When we signed the findings and orders, I was not okay with it, but the affordability factor was in those findings and orders,” Commission President Denise Robertson explained. “If those solutions we could come up with would be affordable for the home owners, I was under the naive impression we would be able to come up with our own solution. I still stand with, as long as the affordability portion is in there, we can go ahead and move forward with the design and see what it is going to cost. If we can’t afford it, they can’t force us to do it.”
Wick asked what the plan would be if the board decided not to move forward with the sewer district. Commissioner Robertson replied, she would want to ask individual property owners.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH