Phoneton residents object to water project

By Cecilia Fox -

MIAMI COUNTY — At a public hearing on Thursday, the Miami County Commissioners heard from residents about the proposed water line extension to properties in Bethel Township.

Many residents of these properties signed a petition objecting to the project, which they submitted to the board. The petition states that the property owners oppose the 20 year special assessment for the project, stating that they have no need for the water line.

“On behalf of the majority of the 153 landowners who have recently received assessment notices, I’m here to express strong opposition to the proposed assessments with the Phoneton water line project,” resident Robert Galentine said. “Our objection is based in the unfairness of being asked to make significant payments for a water line we don’t need, want, or will use.”

The approximately $2.5 million project extends water supply service to properties in the Phoneton area of Bethel Township, including properties on E. U.S. Route 40, S. U.S. Route 40, S. State Route 202, S. Wildcat Road, Shroyer Drive and Dinsmore Drive.

The township is funding a up to $1 million of the project, not including the more than $250,000 in engineering costs paid from the township’s infrastructure levy, Jerry Hirt, Bethel Township trustee, said. The county is also receiving funds from the Ohio Public Works Commission for the project.

A portion of the construction costs will be assessed to property owners. The estimated maximum cost per property owner is about $8,000, Hirt said.

In addition to assessments, property owners must also pay a tap-in fee and connection charge if they decide to connect to the water supply. Those property owners will also be required to install the water service line and meter at their own expense.

The majority of residents that attended the meeting are not in favor of the project, saying that they have excellent wells and don’t want to pay for a service they won’t use.

“We are concerned that our Phoneton water line project is preceding on the false assumption, or maybe just a rumor, that some of us have bad well water,” Resident Susan Donohue said. “That is simply not the case.”

One resident, Larry Ewald, spoke in favor of the project, calling it a wonderful opportunity. He said that his properties have had contaminated wells in the past.

Following the public hearing, the commissioners cannot take action on the project for at least five calendar days, during which time residents may file with the board a written endorsement or an intent to appeal the project.

The commissioners will vote on the project at an upcoming meeting. If approved, residents who submitted an intent to appeal will have 10 days after that vote to file their appeal with the Miami County Probate Court.

Agendas for upcoming commissioners meetings are posted on the county’s website,

In other business, the commissioners authorized the replacement of tile floors and walls in the administrative staff restroom and in two public restrooms in the lobby at the West Central Juvenile Facility. The project was awarded to Craft Interiors of Piqua at a cost not to exceed $12,984.

The commissioners also approved the purchase of one Sharp digital imager for the Law Library at a cost of $2,549.

By Cecilia Fox

Reach Cecilia Fox at or (937) 552-2205.

Reach Cecilia Fox at or (937) 552-2205.