Saturday, August 12, 2000

His 'Yes' counts on this issue

Law forces homeowner to vote to get water

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        VILLA HILLS — Orlan Holliday has been hauling water home and patching up his cistern more than half his life.

        And after 40 years, the 77-year-old retiree says he is tired of it.

        But when the city of Bromley recently laid a water line within 100 feet of his home, he was told he couldn't tap into it. And though on Friday, Villa Hills got a grant of nearly $300,000 to extend its water system, the new pipes won't reach Mr. Holliday's home.

        A quirk in state law means the only way Mr. Holliday can get public water is if he votes it in.

        Come Nov. 7, that's what he intends to do.

        At his request, Villa Hills City Council adopted an ordinance putting on the ballot the question of whether Mr. Holliday's home can be de-annexed from the city.

        Only one vote matters — Mr. Holliday's — and the voting machine will have a control mechanism ensuring only his vote is counted. (His wife, Imogene, isn't registered to vote.)

        One “Yes” and nearby Bromley can annex Mr. Holliday's home and let him tap into its water line.

        “It is kind of odd, isn't it?” remarked Bromley Councilman Dan Gardiner. “He has to go to all this trouble, just to get water.”

        The one-vote method isn't always foolproof.

        Last year, Highland Heights resident Billie Sandhas said she voted to deannex her business from the city over sewer issues. But somehow the machine failed to register her vote, and the measure was defeated. Ms. Sandhas challenged the outcome in court, and a judge ruled in her favor.

        Mr. Holliday won't have to pay for a special election because one is scheduled. But he will have to pay as much as $1,700 to extend Bromley's water line to his house.

        He says he doesn't mind. “This way, I'll have the water here, and I won't have to be doing all this hauling and patching.”


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