KOSCIUSKO COUNTY — The establishment of the Tippecanoe Lakes Conservancy District has now been filed in Kosciusko County Circuit Court and is scheduled for an initial hearing at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, March 29.
David L. Hollenbeck, Valparaiso, filed the petition and verified petition signatures with the court Friday, Jan. 12. Judge Michael Reed established the initial hearing time and date Tuesday, Jan. 16. At this point no further names can be added or deleted from the verified petition signatures.
The Tippecanoe Lake Sewer Initiative submitted 443 signatures for verification by the Kosciusko County Auditor’s office. However, approximately 114 individuals filed a petition asking to have their names withdrawn. The petition was submitted to the courts with approximately 329 verified signatures, meeting the requirements for filing the petition.
According to the petition the freeholders of land in the boundaries established in the petition “desire the establishment of a conservancy district under and pursuant to an Act Relating to Conservancy Districts,” being Chapter 308 Indiana Acts of 1957 and currently codified at IC 14-33. The group is petitioning the court to order its establishment in accordance with the provisions of the act as amended and supplemented, according to the facts and provisions.
The petition asks the conservancy district be called Tippecanoe Lakes Conservancy District. The document also provides an exhibit with the legal description outlining the territory. Additionally the document states the conservancy district shall be established for the purpose of providing for the collection, treatment and disposal of sewage and other liquid waste pursuant to IC 14-33-1-1(a)(5).
Court documents state the necessity and reasons for the establishment of the district are:
- The existence of soils that are undesirable for installation of septic systems and incompatible with proper septic system operation
- Many existing septic systems located in close proximity to water wells in violation of state health department criteria
- Many septic systems are reaching their useful life
- Septic systems located at or below the lake water level
- Anticipatably poor care and maintenance of existing septic systems during their estimated 20-year life cycle
- Prevention of lake and ground water pollution from aging and malfunctioning septic systems
- Preventing pollution via treatment systems that centralize treatment and deploy advanced technologies
- Need for protection of ground water resources
- Reduction in potential for public health issues associated with malfunctioning septic systems
- Need for providing basic infrastructure for economic growth, revitalization of existing neighborhoods and sustainability of the environment.
An additional reason is the establishment of the district will promote the general health, safety and welfare of the area as well as the surrounding communities.
Documents note the cost and damages of the district will be less than the beneficial value to the residents and territories involved and the petition is not conditioned upon the aware of any particular federal or state grant.
Stated in the petition is it is anticipated maintenance and operation of any works of improvement constructed and operated by the proposed conservancy district will be funded by a combination of user charges, as well as potential assessment of special benefit taxes and possible exceptional benefit taxes as such may be determined appropriate from time to time by the board of directors and which are consistent with state laws.
The petition additionally sets out that five directors be appointed to serve on the board of directors and after the initial appointment, the election will be by those individuals legally entitled to vote. The qualifications or and length of terms of each director will be determined by the law in effect at the time of the creation of the conservancy district and as such requirements may be amended from time to time.
The court is also being asked, upon creation of the conservancy district, to divide the district into sub-districts equal to the number of members of the board.