SYRACUSE — Syracuse Police Officer Gary Clark was sworn in at the beginning of the Syracuse Town Council’s regular monthly meeting Tuesday night, Feb. 21. Clark replaces Officer Joe Salazar who recently retired.
Town Manager Henry DeJulia reported he, Council President Tom Hoover and Public Works Superintendent Rob Merchant met with members of the Turkey Creek Sewer District regarding the agreement between the town and sewer district, which has been in place for 28 years.
DeJulia asked the council for permission to hire London Witte to do some rate consulting while Umbaugh and Associates represents the sewer district. Councilman Bill Musser asked if the sewer district rates can be increased for maintenance or service. The contract between the town and sewer district does not specify increasing rates for capital projects.
Merchant explained the main conclusion the sewer district came to was the replacement of the wastewater treatment plant should not be included in their customers bills because it is not considered a capital improvement. The current contact calls for rates to be based on last year’s expenses, flow rate and quality of water sent to the Syracuse Wastewater Treatment Plant. Merchant and DeJulia said the town is handling considerably more from the sewer district with already one line over capacity.
The council approved hiring London Witte.
In his department report, Merchant told the council the wastewater treatment plant is still having problems with the aerators. The clarifiers are being cleaned three times a week when they are supposed to only need to be cleaned once a week. Because of the problems, the plant is using 42 percent more electricity because the aerators are running all the time.
Merchant also pointed out only one aerator should be running at any given time and both are running. An estimate on replacing the equipment is coming from Triad, the engineering firm hired to replace the wastewater treatment plant.
Merchant suggested running the aerators as suggested to have hard evidence energy costs are higher and the equipment is not working as it should. The council agreed.
The council approved a new ordinance establishing rules for purchasing supplies and services. The ordinance provides monetary limits department heads can spend before coming to the council for approval.
The council approved designating an alley way between Dolan and North Huntington streets one-way heading east. Police Chief Jim Layne made the request after there were a few near misses by drivers having trouble seeing because of how a building is situated. The vote was four to one in favor with Musser abstaining, stating he was confused.
DeJulia asked for the council to approve a letter from Elkhart County, which would allow Elkhart County to negotiate a tax abatement if someone shows interest in building in the technology park. The town is still working on annexing the property from Elkhart County.
DeJulia is still looking for someone to fill a vacant spot on the Syracuse Board of Zoning Appeals.
DeJulia reported he and several council members went on a tour of the elementary school with others. There was a lot of discussion about what and how the school could be used once the students move to the new school.
DeJulia also told the council he hopes to have the comprehension plan to the council for approval at the March meeting.