SYRACUSE — The public works report during the Syracuse Town Council’s monthly meeting Tuesday night, Dec. 19, started with Tom Hoover, council president, passing on a compliment to Robin Merchant, public works superintendent, from the residents of Oakwood about a water issue. Hoover told Merchant, Oakwood Park residents appreciated him and his staff as they worked to resolve the matter.
Merchant then plunged into his report, stating the last month had been his busiest yet.
The council approved spending $11,790 with WA Jones for a plow for the new plow truck that should arrive at the end of this week or early next.
Bids were opened for the Crossroads Fund project. The winning bid was for NIBLOCK for $277,741.60. The project must be started, contracts signed and work actually underway by April 1. Completion must be done on or before July 1. Through the Crossroads Fund, the state will pay 75 percent of the cost while the town pays the remaining 25 percent.
There are still issues at the booster station not holding pressure. There was a suggestion of replacing the pressure release valve, but Merchant isn’t sure that will fix the problem. The plan is to look at the problem again with a technician on the phone.
Merchant brought up the issue of stuck or bypassed water meters. In the past if a meter was stuck, a bill based on past minimum usage was issued. Merchant wanted the council to dictate exactly what to do if a meter gets stuck or if a meter is bypassed. Vern Landis, town attorney, pointed out state law addresses the issue. Paula Keher-Wicker, clerk treasurer, pointed out the law says “may” rather than “shall” and her department needs instruction on how to handle the matters.After discussion it was decided to revisit the issue at a later date.
On the 2017 budgets Merchant noted on the sewer side, the department went over budget due to equipment using more energy than anticipated. The water department was under budget, but did not get all planned maintenance items completed.
The council approved the 2018 budgets, $889,900 for wastewater and $880,185 for water.
Merchant told the council he is working with Common Wealth Engineering on final pricing on wastewater improvements. While he doesn’t have final pricing yet, he wants approval so he can proceed once the Indiana Department of Environmental Management gives its approval. The council approved Merchant being able to spend $30,000 and the contract being signed by the town council president.
In the park department report, Chad Jonsson told the council a final draft of the department’s master plan will probably be presented at the February town council meeting. Registration is underway for adult basketball and there was skating at the ballpark while it was cold enough for ice. The community center does have skate rental and skates ranging in size from 9A through adult 13.
In the fire territory report, Chief Mickey Scott thanked all the boards, town council, township advisory and fire territory, for working well this year. He reported there was a fire on Boston Street and the department is working to help the family involved.
Hoover thanked the department heads, town employees and fellow council members for making his job easier. Councilman Bill Musser will serve as council president for 2018.