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Residents Express Dismay Over Inability To Connect To Municipal Water

Residents of the Town of Ripley’s Water District 5 expressed dismay at a recent town board meeting over their inability to hook up to municipal water.

Ripley’s Sewer District 2 and Water District 5, which were initially discussed in 2014, are part of a four-phase project to upgrade and expand the town’s sewer and water system.

It was anticipated that residents of Water District 5 would be hooked up to municipal water by the summer of 2020. Water testing, which began in the spring, has caused delays for residents.

“They are still in the testing phase,” said Doug Bowen, town supervisor. “When testing is completed, property owners can hook up.”

The town board meeting, which was broadcst via Zoom, allowed privilege of the floor prior to adjournment, and several residents said they felt that someone “dropped the ball” on the completion of the water tests.

Ripley resident Melissa Fisher said she believed that the sewer and water employees have been lax about getting the tests completed in a timely manner.

“For all the money we’re paying water and sewer ampoloyees, they better perform,” she said.

Bowen said water testing was to be completed shortly after the meeting and then residents would be able to hook up.

Bowen also gave board members and residents an update on Sewer District 2, which was officially established in August, 2016.

“Construction should start on October 4. All residents will receive a letter before construction begins,” he said. “Finally, we’re getting there.”

In other business, Bowen asked board members to approve the appointment of David Tackett as a water/sewer laborer. Acting water and sewer superintendent Andrew Strine recommended Tackett, who has worked as a temporary full-time laborer on Water District 5.

Strine told board members that interviews for the position were held on September 1 and a written test was administered. He said that, based on the results of both, he feels that Tackett is the best candidate.

Strine also asked that the customary 90-day period of reduced pay be shortened to 30 days for Tackett because of his experience as a temporary laborer for the town. Board members approved Strine’s recommendations.

In a related matter, Strine recommended the appointment of Trevor Enterline as deputy water and sewer supervisor.

“There is one issue with this appointment,” Bowen said. “Trevor only has his wastewater license, so he can only be deputy supervisor for wastewater.”

Bowen noted that Enterline is registered for the course for water licensing.

“Once he receives his water license, he could become deputy supervisor for water, as well as sewer,” Bowen said.

Board members subsequently appointed Enterline as deputy supervisor for wastewater treatment.

In other business, Bowen introduced a resolution requesting that the speed limit be changed on West Sidehill Road. The resolution, drafted by the town’s attorney, is intended to get input from the Department of Transportation.

The letter from the attorney states that there is a tendency for motorists to exceed the 55 MPH speed limit, Bowen said. It requests that the state DOT establish a speed limit of 45 MPH, he added. Board members approved the resolution.

Bowen also told board members that the 2021 budget process has begun.

“It’s gonna be a tough one,” he said. “Don’t expect any increases anywhere.”

In another matter, Rebecca Rowe Carvallo, town clerk, told the board that Heather Chess is resigning from the position of deputy town clerk. Board members approved Carvallo’s recommendation of Riley Hawkins Entreline to fill the position.

In other business, resident Shelly Spacht asked Bowen for an update on the Love’s Travel Stop and Country Store project on Shortman Road. Plans for the new travel center include a convenience center, a restaurant, a Speedco tire care facility, fueling islands and canapes for cars and tractor-trailers, as well as parking for 58 automobiles and 93 tractor-trailers.

Bowen said that buildings currently located at the site will be demolished at the end of October.

“Everything is moving forward,” he added.

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