OTTAWA — In a surprise move, the village of Ottawa voted 4-2 Monday to withdraw its petition to start a 6119 regional water and sewer district, a proposal that has met with very vocal opposition in Putnam County.
Village Councilman Jeff Ducey had been appointed early this year to serve as a village representative on the group organizing the Black Swamp Water and Sewer District, and he said several informational meetings on the district throughout the county were met with vehement opposition, primarily because of concerns about the governing board potentially being appointed rather than elected, as well as fears that any properties along a potential water and sewer route would be forced to sign onto the program.
“There were concerns about things like eminent domain,” he said.
Ottawa had been looking to be a principal provider to the district, given its excess water and sewer capacity at its water treatment plant. However, when a motion concerning the district did not even come to a vote at a previous meeting, Ducey said the writing was on the wall when it came to concerns about moving forward, despite the village’s desire to expand its services.
“We want to expand,” he said. “We are currently selling water to Miller City and Bluffton, and we’re selling water and sewer to Glandorf. We’re willing to help and we want to serve more people.”
Part of the concern, according to Ottawa Mayor Dean Meyer, was the fact that two of the Putnam County commissioners had withdrawn their support for the district’s creation.
“My take on it all along was that I want to be a part of it to sell water and sewer, and that way, if we have a part of it, we have a seat on the board and we have a say on it,” he said. “But I don’t want to be a part of it if the commissioners aren’t backing it.”
Should the district be created, the village of Ottawa can still choose to rejoin at a later date.
The remaining petitioners — Pandora, Continental, Leipsic, the portion of Palmer Township including Miller City and Ottawa Township — will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Leipsic village offices.
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.