By Amanda Ensinger
With winter weather quickly approaching, a local township is taking action to assure drivers are safe on the road.
At a recent Prairie Township meeting, the board approved its annual snow and ice removal contract with the city of Columbus.
“In exchange for the township maintaining 11.80 miles of roads during snow and ice events, the city will compensate the township $953 per lane mile for a total of $11,245.40,” said Prairie Township Administrator Rob Peters. “There is a small increase in mileage caused by the annexation of Hilliard-Rome E. As in the past, township roads will take priority over these roads. The location of these roads makes it efficient and cost effective for the township to maintain for the city.”
Also at the meeting, several residents voiced concerns about ongoing issues in the township that they feel have not been addressed – mainly water rates.
“Why can the township spend money at the sports complex but not help with the water rate issue?” asked Miguel Valentino, township resident.
At the start of 2021 residents saw a 2 percent increase for water service and a 3 percent increase for sewer service, according to Franklin County Department of Sanitary Engineers Director Stephen Renner. The reason for these increases was attributed to increases the county received from Columbus. According to Renner, they are simply passing these increases along to their customers.
However, this increase caused concern for Prairie Township residents who already say they pay some of the highest rates in the county.
At the time of these increases, the township and county were looking at a way to have Columbus take over the county’s water system, hopefully reducing water costs. However, township residents haven’t received an update on this plan in almost a year.
“All three trustees address this issue any chance they get as this is the number one complaint from township residents,” said Prairie Township trustee Stephen Kennedy. “Talks are continuing between the county and the city. We cannot provide a timeline as the previous one was not met.”
Lake Darby residents also expressed concern about water and sewer rates.
“At Lake Darby our water is under Aqua Ohio and this is a private company,” said Jennifer Flower. “We also have water and sewer rate concerns. They are working on a $1.9 million project, how is this project will be repaid? I’m concerned this will fall on the residents. What is the board willing to do to help?”
Kennedy said this is a private water company and there is not much the township can do.