A motion keeping this year’s sewer rates at Rocky Fork Lake the same for next year was unanimously approved by the Highland County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday.
“I think it’s very important everyone understands,” commissioner Shane Wilkin said, that keeping the sewer rate low has been largely due to the efforts of the prosecutor’s office, which he said has worked to collect delinquent sewer fees and taxes.
Highland County Prosecutor Anneka Collins said that after letters went out earlier this year several people came in to her office and paid in full both delinquent rates and taxes, and she said there are another 125 people paying through contracts with the office as well.
After talking with Frank Leone of Environmental Engineering Services and considering the money on delinquencies being brought in by the prosecutor’s office, Wilkin said commissioners “feel pretty confident” about not changing the monthly user fee for the coming year.
While commissioner Tom Horst said that there was shortfall in regard to the RFL sewer this year, Wilkin said this year was the “first time in quite a while” that in the first 10 months of the year more money was collected than what was spent.
In other business, the county is still not on board with a proposed road closure at North Beach Road just past Holiday Way.
Wilkin said he talked to Highland County Engineer Dean Otworth this week and there “still seems to be some concern” about the closure.
He said it was a matter for further discussion between Otworth and ODNR.
The proposal was initially made a couple weeks ago by ODNR officer Adam Somerville, who said that restricting entry to the area to just one entrance/exit point was a measure to control crime. The only entrance to the North Beach area by vehicle if North Beach Road was closed would be an ODNR road near boat ramps and docks off of North Shore Drive.
As previously reported, Somerville said the North Beach area was the worst for crime. He said ODNR is hopeful that the closure would allow for better patrolling of the area by park rangers.
On other matters, Wilkin said commissioners plan to present a preliminary 2016 budget next week.
Permissive sales tax receipts returned to the county in November came to $569,871, according to information released by Highland County Auditor Bill Fawley.
The permissive sales tax returned to the county is the portion of all sales taxes collected in the county in a given month. The funds go to the county’s general fund.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.