Defiance’s water treatment plant fund is about to become the largest individual municipal budget in 2021.

That account and all the city’s other spending plans for next year were reviewed by city council during a 2 1/2-hour session Tuesday (see related stories page A1 and below).

At $17,066,253 for next year, the water fund would nearly triple the 2020 appropriated amount ($6,348,685). The reason: the city’s granulated activated carbon (GAC) project is planned in 2021, and the $10.3 estimated cost appears in the water treatment plant budget.

The GAC project — which will remove trihalomethanes from the water while addressing taste and odor issues — will be put out for bid on Dec. 15, according to city officials, with work expected to be completed in 2022.

City Finance Director John Lehner noted that water plant debt the city will retire through 2024 will allow this project to unfold without a related water rate increase. (Rates will go up slightly next year, but not because of the GAC project.)

“... so we’re in really good shape to pay for the GAC project,” said Lehner.

Also in the water treatment plant budget is $70,000 for a possible bulk water station. This would allow the public to make bulk water purchases of city water.

Lehner indicated that this station could be built on the city’s water treatment plant grounds on Baltimore Road. However, he said the city is having discussions with Defiance County about using land near Au Glaize Village — owned by county commissioners — on Kiser Road, southwest of Defiance.

“If it moves forward in that direction the $70,000 won’t be enough,” said Lehner. “But right now it’s (the figure) a placeholder.”

The city’s assistant water plant superintendent, Joe Ewers, said bulk water purchases can be made at the water plant, but the system uses a two-inch line, so it’s very slow.

Excluding the general fund, the proposed water plant budget now eclipses what had been the city’s largest fund — for its water pollution control plant on Ohio 281 next to General Motors.

That budget is proposed at $7,602,567 compared to the $7,728,804 set aside for this year.

No major sewer separation projects are planned this year, as the city works with Ohio EPA on a new long-term control plan that officials hope will be less expensive than the original approved by that agency.

The city’s largest fund amounts proposed for 2021, with 2020 adopted amounts in parenthesis, include:

• water treatment plant, $17,066,253 ($6,348,685).

• general fund, $10,661,994 ($10,812,253).

• water pollution control, $7,602,567 ($7,728,804).

• police and fire fund, $6,395,570 ($6,582,835).

• capital improvements, $5,680,844 ($4,317,683). A related story details spending proposals in this fund.

• employee health trust, $3,629,000 ($3,753,000).

• streets, $1,395,887 ($1,285,680).

• refuse collection, $1,053,000 ($1,073,000).

• utilities billing office, $825,348 ($865,975).

• revolving loan, $510,000 ($584,720).

• fire pension,$439,000 ($474,000).

• police pension, $406,000 ($423,820).

• hotel/motel tax, $388,335 ($395,645).

• cable TV franchise, $210,000 ($210,000).

• splash pad trust fund, $198,131, ($198,193).

• special project, $190,000 ($165,000).

• Commerce Drive development, $164,519 ($164,520).

• sewer capital improvement, $155,000 ($1,730,500).

• state highway improvement, $143,000 ($142,500).

• court computerization, $130,000 ($90,000).

• special assessment debt, $106,270 ($106,070).

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