A clerical error on the city’s behalf saved a Warsaw couple from a wastewater bill of over $9,000, but another Warsaw resident may not get as lucky.
At the July 20 meeting of the Warsaw Board of Public Works and Safety, Robert and Janet Shull were told they did not have to pay any of the $9,163.20 in delinquent sewage fees because the city made an error in identifying a rental property with more than one unit. Today, however, another local resident is being asked to prove a similar billing mishap was not the city’s fault.
Charles Allen owns property at 753 E. Market St. The billing, which has an upstairs apartment, had a small fire in June which brought the billing question to light. According to Mary Lou Plummer of the Warsaw Wastewater payment office, Allen built the upstairs apartment sometime after he purchased the property in 2005.
With no record of Allen ever receiving a permit for the construction, the city is allowed, per the Indiana State Board of Accounts, to bill for the past six years. That makes the total bill $2,290.80.
Allen, who attended this morning’s B.O.W. meeting to plead his case, insisted he did receive a permit noting, “I never would’ve been able to get NIPSCO without a permit.” But Plummer said there is no record in the building department.
“If a permit was filed then it would be similar to (the Shull’s) case,” said Mayor Joe Thallemer. “I suggest we table it until we can find out if there is a record and if it’s a city error.”
Allen said he could not locate the original permit or paperwork, but would contact NIPSCO and continue to check his records. City planner Jeremy Skinner said he, too, would look through the building department records to see if there was an oversight.
The rest of today’s B.O.W. meeting focused on approvals of projects and grants. Warsaw Police asked for the city to provide $15,000 as part of a matching grant from the Victims of Crime Act. The grant funds, that last year totaled $44,000, are used to pay the salary of Becky Moreno, the WPD’s victim’s assistance coordinator, and for costs of the program. Lt. Kip Shuter said the department is hopeful they will receive at least $40,000 from the VOCA grant this year but Moreno’s salary is already figured into the police department’s budget.
Warsaw Parks Department Superintendent Larry Plummer received the B.O.W.’s nod of approval to pay K&M Asphalt Sealing Maintenance of Ossian the sum total of $8,850 to reseal and stripe the three tennis courts at Bixler Park. The company has done similar work for the city and Plummer said he has been well satisfied with the quality of their work.
A bill for $182,054.70 was approved to be paid to Grand River Construction Inc. of Hudsonville, Mich. The total is the remainder of a $2.4 million bill for construction of the Warsaw Center Street Pump Station.
In a final order of business, the B.O.W. approved the spending of $4,512.50 to Earth Exploration. The Niles, Michigan-based company will be performing a geotechnical evaluation of the soil where the city plans to built a 50-foot by 80-foot pole building to be used to store the garbage trucks.
There is some concern that the soil at the location consists of nearly 10 feet of fill and soft marl. The purpose of the soil evaluation is to determine how thick the footers for the new building need to be to prevent sinking.
The B.O.W. consists of Thallemer, Charlie Smith and Jeff Grose. The board meets the first and third Fridays of each month at 10:30 a.m. in the Warsaw Common Council chambers.