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May 7, 2013

Additional expenses anticipated to maintain sewer line between Constantine and Three Rivers Wastewater Treatment Plant

Constantine Village Office - brickwork

Constantine Village Manager Mark Honeysett predicted there will be additional expenses to maintain the sewer line between Constantine and Three Rivers Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) at a Monday evening (May 6) meeting of the village council.
Honeysett presented council members with two photos of the damaged areas, and a memorandum from plant superintendent James Baker outlining the situation.

(Click on photo to enlarge)

Baker stated while recent air release valve installation was being completed, several areas with substantial corrosion were found in lines along Gleason and King Roads.

“Most areas will require new saddles, nipples and inlet valves along with media blasting and an epoxy coating of the line,” he said. “One location is very severe and will require a new section of 10″ diameter pipe.”

“All of this work will require a complete shutdown of the line, isolation of the work area, and a pumper truck to pump out the 1,000 feet or so of line that is up gradient of the work area.”

Baker said a contractor was in the process of putting together a cost for the additional work and more information would be presented at a future council meeting.

Honeysett told the council Three Rivers is responsible for inspection and routine maintenance of the sewer line, but repairs “come out of our pocket.”

In other council business:

  • Honeysett thanked former village clerk Ruth Strawser for calling it to the council’s attention they could not sell village property to Dr. Charles and Joelen Zimont without first modifying an existing ordinance or adopting a new one.  Honeysett said Village Attorney Howard Bush was consulted, and he agreed with Strawser.  The Zimonts requested the village sell them eight feet of property contiguous to their west property line at 280 East Water Street for landscaping purposes. After a public hearing on April 15, the council voted to sell the property to the Zimonts for the token amount of $1.00.  Honeysett sent a letter to the Zimonts asking them to consider an agreement with the village to “simply treat the property as if it were your own.”  In it he proposed that Bush draw up a resolution granting the Zimont’s “unfettered freedom” to plant trees and shrubs on the site. Joelen Zimont attended the meeting and indicated the resolution would be satisfactory.  Honeysett said the resolution would only pertain to the Zimont’s, and not future owners.
  • Trustee Cathy Piper gave a report on a recent meeting of the fire department advisory board.  Piper said the fire department purchased a new gas detector, which detects four types of gas, and can be used for crime scenes. They also purchased five automatic external defibrillators (AEDs.) An AED is a portable electronic devise that diagnoses potentially life threatening cardiac arrhythmia of ventricular fibrillation in a patient. It treats arrhythmia with electrical therapy, allowing the heart to establish an effective rhythm. Two AEDs will stay at the fire department, two were given to the police department, and one is in the village office, she said. All items were purchased with fundraisers and memorial funds.  Honeysett and several council members commented on the professionalism of the fire department.  “We recently had two raging fires–one at Peach Tree Apartments, and another at 570 S. Washington Street. The firefighters kept the adjacent apartments and houses safe. They are well trained, and were quick to respond. Our chief and the department deserve a big pat on the back,” Honeysett said.
  • Council President Pat Weiss was appointed as acting chairman to the Parks & Recreation Board. Also appointed until the general election of November, 2014 were Michael Messner, Virginia Tavernier, Marti Brown, Justine Cullifer, Connie Balyeat, CIndy LaFluer and Gordon Evilsizor.

Source:  Story contributed by Angie Birdsall, photos from Village Manager Mark Honeysett


  1. Ruth Strawser

    I am confused at the report regarding Parks & Recreation Board appointments. The Parks and Recreation Board is not a Village entity. It is an inter-governmental board made up of representatives of the Village, Constantine Township and Florence Township. Each entity appoints representative(s) based on the bylaws of the Parks & Recreation Board. The Village Council may appoint a representative(s) to the board, but they cannot appoint the entire board. (Just like to the Fire Board or SAAC.) Any Village representative must be an elector of the Village. It is the Parks & Recreation Board that elects its president. (Just like to the Fire Board or SAAC.)

  2. Ruth Strawser

    I am also confused about the proposed correction to the Council action regarding the proposed sale of public property. For some reason, the Council is continuing to sidestep what should be a straightforward action.

    I have nothing against selling 8′ of property back to the Zimonts. It does not damage the remaining property to do so.

    However, a government cannot turn public property over to a private party except under controlled conditions for the purposes of economic development. There is no economic development incentive in this request.

    Public property can be sold, but under specific legal terms and limits. Public property can be leased, but under specific legal terms & limits. It cannot simply be ‘given away”.

    Public property cannot be handed over to a private citizen to “simply treat the property as if it were your own.” Nor can a private party be granted “unfettered freedom” to plant trees and shrubs on public property – even by resolution. That’s why the Garden Club has constraints on its Village plantings, why Little League has enforced limits at Wells Field, why none of us can cut trees in the Village-right-of-way without express permission, etc.

    Unless the law has changed, a government cannot take public property simply to confer a private benefit upon a particular person or corporation.

  3. Let's be fair...

    I share your concern Ruth…..This one has me a bit baffled as to what the heck the thought process is. Process abnormalities aside, equally what has me baffled is the amount the village paid for this property yet doesn’t seem inclined to (via any process ) seeking at least a proportionate amount in return.

    I’d like to think once in awhile the rules and process apply the same regardless of the “who” that is involved.

  4. Ruth Strawser

    If the purpose of the proposed sale is to provide an aesthetic buffer between the residence and the Village offices and their current lot size is insufficient for such, a simple solution might be for the Village to plant the shrubs and trees as a property buffer as they do at Riverview Park/Cullifer property line. If the Village feels they cannot justify the cost of a plant buffer, the Zimonts could donate the plants to the Village. Since the Zimonts are anticipating such landscape costs, it would not be an unplanned financial hardship. I am sure all parties could agree on acceptable plant choices. If the DPW is unavailable to plant the buffer, surely there would be volunteers as there has been for other Village landscape projects. And the Village would be spared any legal and administrative paperwork.

  5. Let's be fair

    I see this as a benefit to the residence and not so much a necessity for the village. If they want the buffer–OK, I’m sure the village would be OK with planting an arrangement of shrubs on the village parcel. I don’t see this being beneficial to the village for them to give away a portion of property for $1 that they paid a handsome sum for in its entirety from the folks that are buying some of it back for $1. In the end the property owners come out ahead on this and I don’t see the necessity of such a buffer for the village as much as it would be desirable for the residence, and in the end it enhances the residence property value by getting additional property for $1 that is worth a bit more than that. So what is the true value of the property vs the $1 plus the administrative and legal time……then ask yourself what is the village getting for that in return and why is it such a need compared to other priorities.

    I tend to agree with Ruth’s proposed alternatives on this …most of which could have got us to the same result without giving property away for pennies on the dollar to what we paid for it plus administrative time and legal fees.

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