THREE OAKS — Water rates in the Village of Three Oaks will rise this fall.
The Three Oaks Village Council on Aug. 11 voted to hike the amount charged per 1,000 gallons from $5.18 to $6.41 effective Oct. 1, 2021 (the ready to serve charge will remain $30). An additional usage rate of $4.68 per 1,000 gallons above 100,000 gallons also was included.
Although the changes are needed to meet state requirements, Council member Colleen Newquist said it was “painful to do this.”
It was noted that the average monthly household bill would go up about $4 to $5.
There also was discussion concerning the quality of the treated well water used in the Three Oaks system, with all agreeing that it is safe to drink.
Village President Richard Smith said he has a water filter at his home and he flushes his water heater.
“I don’t have any problems with it. I drink it from the tap,” he said.
Also on Aug. 11, the Village Council approved spending $5,000 for a Galien River Sanitary District feasibility study.
“We’re asking them to be a part of their system,” said Village Manager Dan Faulkner. “Now they have to review their system, and the data that we’ve provided to them, to see if they can even accept us or if what they’e going to need to do improve their system to accept us.”
Smith said he expects the study to inform village officials of the viability and costs of sending the community’s sewage to the GRSD as well as information on options related to either becoming one of the “owner” communities of the GRSD or a “customer” of the sewage treatment organization which would be allowed a defined number of gallons for treatment.
Smith said it is his understanding the study will focus on “the facts” and include the GRSD’s engineers reviewing the village’s findings (which Faulkner said was done by Wightman and Associates).
Council member Tyler Ream read from a letter from the GRSD as follows: “We will prepare an order-of-magnitude cost estimate for the potentially required improvements. The results of the review will be presented in a summary letter (which he said will include an approximate cost).”
Ream later said “at some point soon we have to decide are we going to continue maintaining our ponds and start allocating money for the dredging that needs to be done there, or are we going to hook up to their (GRSD) system?”
In another Aug. 11 matter, the Village Council accepted the resignation of Treasurer Lois Jones effective July 31, 2021.
Jones was praised by several members of the Village Council, with the general consensus being that she will be missed.
“Lois has done a fantastic job for our village,” Smith said.
The council also named a committee to hire a new treasurer, and appointed Planning Commission member Darlene Heemstra as interim-acting treasurer.
During Faulkner’s Village Manager’s report, he said all of the marijuana business hopefuls that received preliminary special land use approvals from the Planning Commission (there are 10) have applied for a license from the village “in some way, shape or form.”
The ongoing application process is expected to reach the Village Council for evaluations in October.
In other Aug. 11 business, the Three Oaks Village Council:
• Approved a five-year web services agreement with Revize for $2,000 to include an overhaul of the village website.
• Agreed to donate $2,000 to the Friends of Berrien County Trails to put together an engineering plan to connect all communities with bike and walking trails.
• Accepted the resignation of Electrical Inspector Leroy Pinkston and agreed to a contract with Eric Kruck to provide electrical inspector services for the village.
• Accepted the resignations of Planning Commission member Dustin Blasczyk and Debbi Schutt of the Parks and Recreation Committee.
• Were told by Smith that a first Thursday pop-up celebration in the south portion of the downtown area is scheduled to take place on the evening of Sept. 4.