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ABC Water and Stormwater District set to begin tasks at hand

February 20, 2019
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

The ABC Water and Stormwater District (ABC District) is up and running and the collection of fees has begun. This year, work could begin in replacing old and failing infrastructure. It is work that otherwise couldn't have been done by the township alone.

In 2009 the ABC Water and Stormwater District was formed between Austintown, Boardman, and Canfield. The idea was to form a district that could do what the township couldn't.

Jason Loree, Boardman Township administrator and member of the ABC Water and Stormwater District board said, "Townships cannot apply for Federal grants, nor can it spend taxpayer dollars on private property."

Article Photos

Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier

Boardman Township Administrator and ABC Water and Stormwater District Board member Jason Loree holds up the newer type of storm water pipe that can outlast the older versions such as the failing steel one on the table. Replacing the failing systems is something the district will be doing over the coming months and years as it makes upgrades to the infrastructure.

The example was given of a storm water creek with embankments on private property. When the embankment fails, the township can't go in and restore it to save erosion. The ABC District could because it is a regional independent political subdivision of the State of Ohio, established under Ohio Revised Cod Chapter 6119.

Under the Ohio Revised Code, the ABC District can collect a fee to build funds to help make repairs and restore infrastructure. Those fees are collected through a storm water utility fee that is charged according to a property's non-pervious surfaces, such as roofs, parking lots, and driveways.

To determine the fee, a study was done by CDM & Smith. That study took a sample of 1,000 homes within the district. The average non-pervious surface was determined to be 4,764 square feet.

"That number became the standard for one Equivalent Residential Unit or ERU," said Canfield Township Administrator Keith Rogers, who also sits on the board. "The fee for each ERU is $3.12 per month."

He said the fee is collected on the property tax. The district did develop several Tiers for duplexes and multi-family units as well as a commercial discount.

The funds collected can go to construction and maintenance of retention and detention areas, provide for street sweeping to keep road debris from getting into the sewers, and repairing or replacing catch basins, storm lines, culverts, outlet structures and curbs and gutters.

At this time, only Canfield and Boardman Townships have decided to go active in the ABC District. Austintown is not active and is not collecting the fees, but it could join in at any time. It was noted that the storm water fees collected in a specific township would remain in that township, except for projects that would benefit both communities. In that case both communities would share in the cost.

In looking at projects for 201, Boardman is considering categorizing the over 5,000 catch basins and setting up a repair-replacement plan. Loree said the basins are old and some are close to collapsing.

"Leaves and grass rot in the storm sewer and create sewer gases," he said. "Those gases can eat away at the mortar causing the brick sidewalls to fail."

He said the new basins are one-piece concrete and have a much longer life.

Another possible project is finding a way to get more capacity in the "Boardman Ditch" that flows from storm water runoff at the Boardman Plaza into Boardman Lake. Loree said the water flows into a culvert on Ewing Road, then into a very old channel that is "not as affective as it could be."

Boardman is also considering developing plans for the replacement of piping that has gone beyond its useful life. It is also looking at setting up a street sweeping and Vac truck plan for the township.

Canfield Township already has a Vac truck to help clear drains and that community will also be setting up a street sweeping program. Like Boardman, Canfield will also be assessing its over 2,000 catch basins and will be looking into pipe replacement.

One project that Rogers said needs attention is the Pebble Beach Court culvert. The pipes going under the road are rusted completely through, causing sink holes to open above the culverts. The entire project is expected to cost $46,200.

Right now, the two townships already have an idea on how much money will be generated through the storm water utility fee. Canfield is expecting between $260,000 to $270,000 per year. Boardman is looking at close to $900,000 per year.

The first fee collection will be over the summer, meaning some of the projects could get underway and even completed this year, thanks to the formation of the ABC Water and Stormwater District.



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