SALINEVILLE - Council members announced to the public Monday night that Buckeye Water District (BWD) has expressed an interest in acquiring the former village water treatment plant and 10 acres surrounding it.
The fate of the property was not decided that night, however, most of the council agreed, in any case, the village should try to make money from the property rather than give it to the water district.
Councilman Rick Beadle broached the subject saying he had been contacted by a BWD representative who expressed an interest in acquiring the two buildings located at the former village water plant, as well as the property itself. Beadle said Buckeye officials claim the former plant is an environmental hazard and has come to the attention of the EPA. "They're having issues with the EPA I guess, so we're going to have to work it out eventually." said Beadle
Further complicating matters is the fact that several private companies have also approached village officials about the plant, offering to purchase or lease the property according to Mayor Mary Smith.
Smith said she is working with village solicitor Andy Beech to hammer out the legal aspect of turning the former plant over to a private company.
Beadle said BWD representatives were willing to give the village any revenue from gas and oil leases as well as revenue gained from the two buildings at the site. Beadle noted that due to a management agreement between the village and Buckeye, BWD may be legally able to simply take the land and the buildings.
The management agreement is a legally binding agreement between the village and Buckeye, made when the water district took over operation of the village water system in 2009. At this time, the water plant was decommissioned and disconnected from Salineville's water system according to Beadle. Councilman Wayne Lieshman, who served on several previous village councils, said he he did not think the management agreement gave BWD the right to take the land. The village council met with BWD officials earlier this year after council members complained about water district employees using buildings at the former water plant for storing materials. At that time Andy Beech advised council members that it was with BWD's rights to do so due to the terms of management agreement.
Council members seemed unimpressed by Buckeye's offer to exchange any gas and oil or building related revenue generated by the land for the use of the land and buildings at the site, contending the plant could be a significant source of revenue if the village is able lease it out.
"That's the only thing we've got left and you never know what's going to come along down the road," said Council President Sally Keating.
Councilman Zeb Locklear agreed saying, "Give nothing to Buckeye."
Solicitor Beech told council he has been contacted by Buckeye's legal counsel about setting up a meeting between the water district and the village to discuss the future of the former plant.