Wayne County will collect Cambridge City stormwater fees with property tax payments beginning in 2024.

The county previously collected the fees for one year, then stopped for several years during which the town did not receive fee payments. After realizing last year the assessments had not been collected, Cambridge City requested the county reinstate the collections, but that was initially denied by Auditor Mark Hoelscher. The town threatened a lawsuit after it and the county disagreed about whether state statute required the county to handle the collections. 

The town and county then reached a three-year agreement that will pay the county $1,500 in 2024 when it establishes the collections, then $1 for each assessed parcel, expected to be between 800 and 900 parcels, for 2025 and 2026 as reimbursement for expenses. After the three years, the entities would evaluate whether the collaboration should continue.

Wayne County Council members and the county’s commissioners approved an interlocal agreement with the town during a Dec. 20 workshop. Cambridge City Town Council members had previously approved it.

Council President Beth Leisure said she had no problem with the collections as long as Hoelscher is willing to handle them. Council voted 7-0 in favor.

Commissioner Mary Anne Butters did not support the collection, saying it opens a can of worms.

“Other towns handle their own billing, and I think Cambridge City should, too,” Butters said. “We’ll get a lot of complaints, and it’s disruptive to the auditor’s office.”

Commissioners voted 2-1 in favor.

Fairgrounds furniture

Tables and chairs ordered for use during Wayne County Fairgrounds rentals have been delivered.

The county spent $38,378 for 650 chairs, 90 5-foot round tables, 10 6-foot rectangular tables and 10 high-top tables. Commissioners will establish rental rates per table and chair with a goal of recouping the investment within two years. The tables and chairs will be rented for use by renters of First Bank Kuhlman Center or First Bank Expo Hall.

Vehicle disposal

The county’s fleet management committee will try a new way to dispose of unwanted vehicles.

Previously, the county stored all of the vehicles for an October auction. The proposal is to use HiBid.com, an online auction service through Walther and Hawkins Auctioneers of Centerville throughout the year, with the auctioneers keeping 5% of the sale price.

Commissioners, with a 3-0 vote, and council, with a 7-0 vote, approved a test of that system with two vehicles.

Voting equipment

Leisure announced that Clerk Debbie Berry had received a grant to cover all $150,000 of a voting equipment purchase.

The equipment is necessary for anticipated high voter turnout during the 2024 presidential election.

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A version of this article appeared in the January 3 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Mike Emery is a reporter and layout editor for the Western Wayne News.