Two appointments to the city’s Market Authority leave one more vacancy to be filled on the authorities, boards, commissions and committees that oversee various municipal functions.

The remaining vacancy is a five-year term on the Meadville Area Water Authority, one of two such agencies that can have a direct effect on all residents’ wallets since, like the sewer authority, it sets rates each year. Two alternate members of the city’s Zoning Hearing Board are also being sought.

Wednesday marked the final water authority meeting for former Meadville Police Department Chief Hal Tubbs, who served two terms on the board.

Board chair Tim Groves thanked Tubbs for his work.

“We certainly appreciate your service,” Groves said as the meeting ended. “We’ve done a lot of great projects over the past 10 years.”

Groves noted two projects in particular that are expected to remain in service for 75 years or more: the $2.7 million clearwell and the $6 million Highland Avenue water tanks that were both completed in 2015. The clearwell, which stores water for disinfection prior to distribution, increased storage capacity by 250 percent over its predecessor, which had been constructed in 1928. The 4.5 million gallon capacity of the tanks was nearly twice that of the reservoir they replaced, which dated to 1887.

MAWA also implemented water fluoridation during Tubbs’ tenure on the board. The 3-2 vote in favor of the move in 2017 was easily the organization’s most controversial move in recent years, with vocal public opposition and support evident at a series of community meetings. Tubbs voted against fluoridation.

Applications to replace Tubbs were due Dec. 22 and three were received, according to Deputy City Clerk Katie Wickert.

A committee that includes Mayor LeRoy Stearns, Councilman Sean Donahue and a water authority board member will interview the applicants and recommend a selection to City Council, which appoints the volunteer members who staff 15 municipal authorities, board and commissions.

No timeline for interviews and appointment had yet been established, according to City Manager Andy Walker.

Council voted unanimously on Wednesday to appoint Seth Ernst and Jennifer Foreman to the seven-member Market Authority, which oversees the Market House. Terms on the authority run five years; Ernst takes over a term that runs through 2024 while Foreman begins one that runs through 2025.

Ernst and Foreman were among seven people who applied to serve on the board. Four of the applicants were interviewed last month.

“Everyone was great,” said Councilwoman Autumn Vogel, who served on the committee that considered applicants. “We had really compelling applicants and hopefully a lot of those other people will want to serve the city in other ways too.” 

Mike Crowley can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at mcrowley@meadvilletribune.com.

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