WARSAW — Warsaw city officials appeared slightly offended as they denied recent accusations that the mayor has been lying about needing a wastewater treatment plant expansion and just wanting to raise taxes at the Warsaw Common Council meeting held last night, March 19.
The accusations, which were made online anonymously, revolve around the previously approved Wastewater Treatment Plant expansion. The plant was at 102 percent capacity in 2017. At the current capacity, the Indiana Department of Environment Management could issue a pre-ban notice if proper steps to resolve the issue haven’t been taken. But Warsaw has taken the proper steps and is already into the engineering stages of the project.
“At 90 percent IDEM can issue a pre-ban notice, and they may put us on a pre-ban notice,” explained Brian Davison, Warsaw utilities manager. “We have already taken the steps to address the 90 percent issue so I do not foresee us being put on a pre-ban notice. But let’s say we choose not to do anything about it and Warsaw continues to grow. They have the potential at 100 percent to put you on a sewer ban. If Warsaw is put on a sewer ban, it’s a death sentence for our community. We are allowed zero hookups. No more residents, businesses can’t expand, you can’t add employees. That is why we have been proactive and tried to come up with a solution and an expansion for the long-term growth and prosperity for Warsaw.”
Aaron Hutton of Wessler Engineering explained that these projects do take time and a plant expansion like the one Warsaw is doing could take around two years to build. “It does take time and that sewer ban doesn’t say ‘start construction now and we will let everything go for awhile.’ It means no more connections until you fix the problem. It is important to be proactive in these things because you can be limited for some time while you fix the problem.”
Warsaw Mayor Joseph Thallemer then took some time to address the council and the audience. “I just want to make sure that everyone understands that this going around that we are not under a mandate and therefore we don’t need it is garbage. We didn’t get mandated because we are being proactive.”
The council unanimously approved the wastewater treatment plant expansion acceptance resolution for the State Revolving Fund loan program and appointed Davison the ability to submit documents for this project on behalf of the city.
The board also heard the second reading of an ordinance regarding an alley vacation presented by Attorney Steve Snyder, representing Lake City Bank. Lake City Bank has requested that the northern portion of the Center Street alley and the western portion of the High Street alley be vacated. Both of these alleys sit between property owned by Lake City Bank. The hope is that once the alleys are vacated, the parking area can be modified and additional parking spaces can be gained.
At the last meeting there was concern with how the vacation could impact the First United Methodist Church which sits in the same block as the bank and shares the alleys. Since the last meeting, the two parties met and the plan was redesigned to not restrict any church activities. David Findlay, president and CEO of Lake City Bank, and church officials spoke in favor of the plan.
The board approved the vacation, with the condition that the ordinance is only valid once the church members officially agree during their next meeting.
In other news:
- The council unanimously approved to re-establish the CCD fund rate and the Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory equipment replacement fund rate.
- Little Crow Lofts was approved to continue with its tax abatement.
- An ordinance was amended to add a stop sign to the Glad Street and Flora Avenue intersection. The intersection will now be a two-way stop on Flora Avenue with traffic not stopping on Glad Street.
- Transfer requests for the police department, public works department and parks department where approved. The transferring moves money within each department’s budget to make funds available for the city-wide communication plan.
- An ordinance was approved to restrict bridge activity on Sunset Drive. The ordinance states that there is to be no stopping or standing on or below the bridge.
- The next meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 29. This date is different than the normally scheduled Monday meetings.