By Bill Petzold
DENMARK TOWNSHIP — Plans to install a new water distribution service continue to move forward, but concerned residents feel there’s something rotten in Denmark Township.
Lynn Koviack, who lives on Dixon Road in the township, says that residents have consistently voiced their dissent to their village council since the first meeting about the water project November 4, 2009. But despite an overwhelming public outcry, Koviack says residents’ pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
“From Day 1 which was back in 2009 when we had this first meeting … we asked for a show of hands at that meeting (of those) opposed (to the proposed water plan), and (township supervisor Don Petro) said, ‘You’re not running this meeting, I am,’ ” Koviack said. “From the very first meeting and every hearing since then we’ve had overwhelming opposition at every hearing. When (Petro) says in that one article that the board got together and said ‘Wow, that was a good meeting, we’ve really got a lot (of support),’ that’s baloney.
“You know who wants it? Three people on the board. It goes past all five people on the board, all five of their properties — although one member on the board took some of his land out and put it into PA-116 so he wouldn’t have to pay it. One member on the board, his brother-in-law did the exact same thing so they wouldn’t have to pay it. But they don’t give a damn about making us pay for their water.”
The total project for the water distribution system will cost $16,900 per residence and can be paid for up front. Otherwise, the cost will spread over a 40-year term with an interest rate of 3.75 percent. Each assessed parcel would have to pay approximately $825 a year for 40 years.
“In my personal conversations with Don (Petro) … I said ‘Don, just let us take a vote.’ He said, ‘You know what Lynn? I don’t need your opinion because the board can do whatever they want if they say it’s for the good of the township,’ ” Koviack said. “I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding. What kind of democracy is that?’ He said, ‘Check out the laws.’
“Well, our attorney did check out the laws and (the township board) can do that, that’s what our attorney said. And we’ve said at every meeting, if it’s so good for us, why not do it for the whole township? That would be out of the question. (The path of the water distribution project) goes from Wilder Road in Richville where the treasurer and supervisor live, then it goes past two trustees and goes north to the secretary. We’ve been fighting this for three years and haven’t got anywhere.”
Denmark Township resident Laura Huizar said that the only thing those opposed to the project want is a chance to vote against the project.
“We just wanted our point of view told for the people opposed to the project,” Huizar said. “The five board members, about a hundred people stood up and said they didn’t want it, but they didn’t listen. People were crying and they just voted it in, all five of them.
“All we want is a majority vote.”
Koviack said the township board is not acting in the best interests of its constituents, and she alleges certain board members are acting in their own interests and forcing their neighbors to comply with their wishes.
“Don Petro even said this in a meeting, he said ‘My water was so bad I was going to have to buy a complete water filtration system, it was going to cost me $15,000,’ and I stood and I said, ‘You have got to be kidding. You have the nerve to say that in front of us, that all this could have been resolved if you had just bought that water filtration system? Instead you’re going to make all of us pay $17,000 for your water?
“Now I live on Dixon Road, and the water is not that good. When my grandkids come over they bring their own water, but I’ve drank it for 61 years. I built on the farm right next to my mom and dad’s house, and our well is deeper, it’s got more minerals in it and sometimes it’s got rust.
“I have to change my faucets probably every 15 years. I can handle that.”