Eaton council tables discussion on environmental covenant

EATON — Council moved to table a discussion about authorizing an environmental covenant with the Preble County Board of Commissioners and the State Fire Marshal of Ohio during their meeting on Monday, June 21.

City Manager Brad Collins reported that back in 2003, the county engineer’s facility found a leak in their underground fuel storage tank.

“They made the repairs but they’re required to continue testing, monitoring and reporting,” Collins said. “One of the control measures would be to limit the use of that surrounding area…it’s the county garage, and 1.8 acres of DP&L Park. We’re not to build a basement or place a well in the 1.8 acre area.”

According to the Ohio EPA’s website, an environmental covenant “can be required as a condition of a cleanup approval or issuance of ‘no-further-action’ letters.”

City Prosecutor and Law Director Ryan Brunk said the basis for the covenant is that the county spends $20,000 per year as mandated by the State Fire Marshal to check for the migration of the diesel fuel.

“By doing this, [the commissioners] are hopeful that their oversight by the State Fire Marshal will be less and they won’t have to do that $20,000 in testing every year,” Brunk said. “We don’t get anything for it, but we are helping out the county.” Brunk also added the outlined area was provided by the State Fire Marshall, not the city or county.

Mayor Joe Renner said he didn’t know how to feel about the issue.

“I know we have three new commissioners, but let’s face it, we’ve never been able to enjoy much cooperation from commissioners when we’ve wanted or needed things in the past,” he said. “It is our tax money, you’re right, but now they want us to put a covenant on our land, which probably won’t affect us – we don’t know that – to reduce their liability. This whole problem started with them not doing their job to start with up there.”

Councilmember Brad Moore asked if this is how council wants to start out their relationship with the new board of commissioners, and Renner said they’ve been bitten “a lot of times in the past.”

Collins added that he isn’t concerned with the environmental covenant, and both him and Brunk don’t believe it will impact the property.

Council then agreed to table further discussion for July’s meeting.

In other business

Council passed a number of other resolutions, including holding a public hearing on the 2022 tax budget and resolution (Resolution 21-15), authorizing the execution of a Community Housing Impact and Preservation (CHIP) Agreement with the Preble County Board of Commissioners (21-16), authorizing the purchase of a utility task vehicle (21-17) and authorizing the purchase of a police vehicle (21-19).

A resolution was also passed to establish a State Fiscal Recovery Fund, which will receive funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which replaces CARES Act Funding. Collins reported the first half would be available later in June or July, and the second half will be available next year, and the city will have three years to expend those funds (approximately $1.2-1.4 million).

Collins also reported that Bob Evans in Eaton has submitted an application to the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Liquor Control for a liquor permit.

Public Works Superintendent Chris Denlinger reported to council that the Camden Road Sewer Project is “90 percent complete now” pending grass seed that will be done in the fall.

The next meeting of the Eaton City Council will take place on Monday, July 19 at 6 p.m. in the City Building, 328 N. Maple St.

Would impact 1.8 acres around county garage, DP&L Fields

By Braden Moles

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