SALINEVILLE-A special council meeting called Monday night to discuss Buckeye Water District (BWD) using village property for bulk water sales became heated at times, but ended with both sides reaching an agreement.
At a council meeting on Dec. 2, councilmen Tom Hays and Rick Beadle criticized Buckeye and raised objections over how they felt the village was being treated. In particular, they took issue with an addendum to a 2007 management agreement between the village and BWD.
The addendum was presented to village council in November when construction for the project was set to begin. If approved by council, the addendum would have allowed Buckeye to proceed with the project by using village owned property and other water assets to sell water in bulk to R.E. Gas Development, a subsidiary of REX Energy.
Beadle and Hays accused BWD of proceeding with the bulk project without the permission of the village council. At the time of the Dec. 2 meeting, village solicitor Andy Beech and Buckeye attorne Fred Emmerling were in agreement that meeting the terms of the 2007 management agreement allowed for BWD to proceed with the project.
According to BWD district manager Al DeAngelis, earlier this year the Columbiana County Port Authority brokered a deal between the water district and R.E. Gas Development LLC. Following a series of negotiations, water district officials agreed to sell REX Energy water for $6.60 per 1,000 gallons. DeAngelis noted that sixty cents of each $6.60 will go to the port authority, which he says made the deal possible. DeAngelis said Buckeye expects to supply Rex Energy with about 30 million gallons per year.
As part of an effort to transmit water to Carrol County for fracking, Ohio R.E. Gas Development has been buying up private easements and laying down water transmission pipes to carry water from existing Buckeye lines.
The former Salineville water treatment plant west of the village on state Route 39 lies along the path of the easement. Buckeye acted as an intermediary, leasing the land to R.E. Gas Development on behalf of the village in order to avoid a bidding process.
In attendance at Monday night's special meeting were representatives from R.E. Gas Development, Al DeAngelis and several other Buckeye representatives. All of council was present with the exception of Rick Beadle and Zeb Locklear. Several newly elected council members attended as audience members.
DeAngelis fielded questions from council and with the help of attorney Fred Emmerling tried to address the concerns of council. The discussion at times became heated as DeAngelis and members of the audience went back and forth about Buckeye's role in operating the village water system.
The meeting lasted for nearly an hour and culminated in a vote by council. Hays asked that council approve the project through a motion rather than by approving the addendum presented to council in November. The rest of council agreed and set forth certain terms, which they wanted included in the motion.
Among the terms set forth were, Buckeye will pay the village $60,000, vaults and tanks needed for the project will be allowed to be placed on village property, R.E. Gas Development is limited to one water line along the current easement and both parties attorneys will meet to review the details of the agreement. Council approved the motion unanimously.
After the meeting council members and Buckeye representatives alike said they were glad to have resolved the tension between the village and the water district.
"Everyone needed to be brought up to date on how things transpired," said DeAngelis. "I think that tonight's meeting cleared up a lot of misunderstandings."