SABINA — Townspeople soon will have an option to pay village utility bills online following action by Sabina’s council.
Once the system is up and running, residents can go online and pay their water, sewer and trash collection bills. In addition to being a new utility payment option, it also will save the village money because now the customer, not the village, will pay debit or credit card user fees.
According to a price comparison chart handed out at Thursday night’s meeting of village council, the savings to the village in 2015 in card user fees would have been about $2,301 — dollars that were drawn from the village’s water and sewer funds.
User-friendly features of the new service will include customers’ ability to view their utility accounts online and to go paperless. If they wish, customers still can pay village utility bills by cash or check at the municipal building office.
It will be about four to five weeks to get the system set up for use.
Sabina Village Administrator Rob Dean said there seems to be an ongoing increase in the number of people using credit or debit cards to pay their Sabina utility bills.
Meanwhile in Mayor Dean Hawk’s report to council, he said he had “a very positive meeting with Richland Township trustees” earlier in the day. Sabina is located within the township.
“They [trustees] encouraged me to move forward with plans to find and annex lands for [jobs] development. They even game me some very helpful suggestions,” added the mayor.
Prior to a unanimous passage of a measure regarding an application for Safe Routes to School (SRTS) funds, Councilman Bill Lewis asked a question about the SRTS project’s possible expense to the village. He also wondered whether including the area of a proposed church in the project plans would take away SRTS money from making new sidewalks, expressing a concern that having the proposed church in the SRTS project may have been advocated or lobbied for by some groups of people.
Sabina Village Councilman Jim Mongold, who is chairman of council’s Development Committee, replied the town is not expected to have to spend money on the project if the SRTS grant is awarded.
Further, the church property is included not as a place for sidewalks, said Mongold, but as a corridor for use to separate the traffic of Sabina Elementary School buses from the traffic of parents’ vehicles.
The way the parking lot and drives are currently set up “mixes” bus traffic with parental vehicle traffic, raising the likelihood of accidents, Mongold said. Two student-related accidents are attributed by the Ohio Department of Transportation to the current vehicle and pedestrian congestion, reported Mongold.
The plan calls for directing bus traffic to go out the front of the school grounds, while parental vehicle traffic would utilize a new exit.
“We want to get the traffic that’s comprised of parents’ vehicles with kids [in them] completely away from bus traffic,” Mongold said.
The plan also would cut down on the overall volume of school-related traffic around the campus entrance/exit at Washington Street (routes 3 and 22), said Mongold.
The hoped-for project would involve improving the crosswalk at the Sabina Elementary School entrance, construction between the school and a new church to establish an alternative dropoff/pickup point for school children, and constructing sidewalk on East Washington, Union and South Howard streets. The total cost of the project is estimated at $438,500.
In other news:
• Community clean-up days in the village are scheduled for Saturdays, April 23 and 30.
• During Thursday’s council session, Lewis advised Councilwoman Peggy Sloan, who represents Sabina at meetings of the SRWW Joint Fire District 2 and EMS, that an area resident passed along a fundraising idea for the fire district. The resident said that in Independence, Ky., they have fundraising success there with chaperoned dances for fourth- to eighth-grade children at $5 admission.
• Clinton County commissioner candidate Scott Holmer made a presentation at the council meeting, asking that the people there consider him on primary election day.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.