Engineer discusses West Elkton Intermediate sewer bills

Updates commission on potential legal issues

By Braden Moles -

EATON — Preble County Engineer Kyle Cross provided an update to the Preble County Board of Commissioners on West Elkton Intermediate’s sewer bills during their meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 13.

Cross first informed the commissioners of a previous development in October when the Preble Shawnee Local School District indicated they wanted to get rid of their Sewer District 3 bill for the closed school in West Elkton.

“We had relayed to them was that protocol was; if it is connected to the system, it’s being billed because we don’t have the ability to police what happens in the building,” Cross said.

Cross said the district was adamant that water was disconnected from the building, sewer would soon be disconnected and that the building would be demolished in January, but a definitive timetable was never established.

Cross said he was then contacted by an attorney from Bricker & Eckler requesting public records regarding billing history and contracts.

After those documents were submitted, the county was not contacted again.

“We received a check on Monday [Jan. 11] for their December bill in the amount of $69.15. That is the residential sewer rate in West Elkton. The bill that was submitted to them was $2,351.10,” Cross said. “I have some ideas as to why that happened, but I would like direction from you as far as how do you want me to proceed with that?”

Commissioner Rachael Vonderhaar said she would like to have a discussion with the prosecutor’s office, and Commissioner Adam Craft asked Cross how he believes this situation can be resolved.

Cross started by saying the fees collected from sewer users are used to offset or to cover expenses of outstanding bonds or loans for the plant, so removing the school’s monthly $2,351.10 bill would be close to $30,000 per year the plant would have to make up in revenue.

The only option, then, would be to adjust rates so that the cost can be distributed among the rest of the users, equating to a $15-20 increase per person per month.

“We tried to work with [the school], and their immediate step was to go to legal representation,” Cross said. “I’m in agreement with you, Rachel, that we probably need to let attorneys speak.”

Cross and the commissioners then agreed that he would contact the prosecutor’s office.

In other business

Cross reported 3,100 tons of waste in December for a total of 41,807 tons (over 83.5 million pounds) in 2020, which is the second-highest year on record, second to 2007.

Leachate was 354,000 gallons in December for a yearly total of 3.7 million gallons. This was down 175,000 gallons from 2019.

During the meeting, Cross also noted that Preble County’s Christmas lights pick-up program will run until Feb. 1. Lights can be dropped off in the lobby of the Preble County Courthouse or at the landfill.

To date, Cross said over 300 pounds of lights have been dropped off to be recycled.

The Preble County Board of Commissioners meet every Monday and Wednesday at 9 a.m. in the Preble County Courthouse. These meetings are open to the public.

Updates commission on potential legal issues

By Braden Moles

Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles

Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles