COLUMBIANA COUNTY Officials set hearing to debate Perry Twp. annexation plan

The city says many septic systems in the area are failing.
SALEM -- A proposal to annex about 184 acres in Perry Township into the city so sewers can be installed will be debated soon.
Columbiana County commissioners will hear arguments for and against the matter at a hearing set for 7 p.m. Wednesday in the juvenile justice center auditorium, 260 W. Lincoln Way, Lisbon.
Commissioners typically hold annexation hearings during the day at the courthouse. But the large turnout being predicted prompted the change in place and time.
Commissioners must decide whether to approve annexing into the city two tracts of land lying near each other on the city's northeast side and containing more than 100 homes.
Most the property lies west of North Lincoln Avenue and north of Sunset Boulevard.
City's stance: The city, which is supporting the annexation, says it's needed to make the affected property eligible to receive municipal sewer lines that would replace failing septic systems serving homes in the area. All the homeowners in the affected area would have to tie into the system, regardless of whether their septic system is failing.
If the annexation is approved, the city is willing to undertake a $1.1 million sewer installation project and pay for about half the effort, which would take about six months to complete.
The remaining cost must be shouldered by homeowners, who would be assessed part of the project's cost.
Don Weingart, city utilities superintendent, said Friday that individual property owner assessments should be no more than $5,000.
The city also will allow the debt to be paid over 20 years at 6-percent interest.
Need for municipal sewers: Weingart said municipal sewers are needed in the area because runoff from the failing septic tanks is causing pollution.
But some property owners oppose the annexation because their septic tanks are working and they don't want to be assessed for a sewer system.
Perry Township Trustee Jeff Hochadel said the township won't oppose the annexation. But Hochadel criticized the city for leaving dozens of homes out of the proposed annexation area.
Weingart said the properties excluded contain many owners opposed to the annexation.
Had they been included, it would have been difficult to get signatures of enough property owners on the annexation petition, he said. A majority must sign for a petition to be valid.

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