WARSAW — Lakeland Regional Sewer District board of trustees will hold a special public hearing on the adoption of a tiered system of fines for property owners failing to connect to the sewer system. The hearing will take place at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 16, in the administrative building, 5002 E. 100N, Warsaw. The regular public meeting will commence after the hearing’s conclusion.
The tiered system of fines was agreed upon at the monthly public meeting held Wednesday, April 18. Property owners who fail to connect to the sewer by July 1, 2018, must pay a fine of $10 per day. If still unpaid Sept. 1, 2018, the fee will be raised to $25 a day. On Dec. 1, 2018, the fee will be raised again to $50 per day. On March 1, 2019, the fee again rises to $75 per day. On June 1, 2019, the fine will be raised to $100 per day, the maximum allowable by state law.
Board members agreed the July start date would give those property owners who have received permits ample time to hook in before the fines take effect. “Penalizing them is not our goal,” said board member Sue Ann Mitchell, in agreement with Jim Haney, board president, LRSD attorney Andy Boxberger commented he had never seen “a board more generous” with failure to connect fines.
As of April 18, the district had 1,392 connections, for an 85.5 percent connection rate. Meanwhile, 94.2 percent of property owners have obtained permits to connect, for a total of 1,538 permits.
In other reports, the board was informed seven electrical panels they were assured would arrive within two to three weeks by manufacturer Crane Barnes back in February have yet to arrive after two months.
“They made a commitment and they are not living up to it,” said Haney. It was also noted company representatives are very difficult to reach.
The board voted to allow DLZ Engineering to solicit bids from four companies to construct the bypass channel needed to remove algae build-up at the wastewater plant. The channel is expected to cost between $25,000 and $35,000.
Additionally, the board approved $2,800 to hire an independent contractor to investigate whether the need for the bypass is the result of a flaw in DLZ’s original design. If this turns out to be the case, said Haney, DLZ may be held financially responsible.
During treasury reports, Mike DeWald reported March to be the “best month ever for collections” at $184,000 in operating receipts.
DeWald credited Jones, Petrie and Rafinski’s Jennifer Ransbottom for her work filing $61,648 in liens and reducing the number of customers with bills more than 90 days late.
“The revenue cycle is in good shape,” he stated.