WARSAW — Lakeland Regional Sewer District board of directors spent much of its Sept. 19 public meeting reviewing nearly 20 requests to waive failure to connect penalties.
According to Greg Gear, LRSD manager, 43 properties out of nearly 1,700 remain unconnected, far less than was expected last spring. Throughout the decision-making process, the board held fast to the stipulation property owners had to be connected before the penalties were waived. In some cases, the status of their monthly bill was also considered.
The majority of the requests were only partially granted, with penalties reduced to reflect the date the connection was approved. There was only one case where the district was directly at fault, due to a data entry error.
A Sechrist Lake couple seeking to build an addition to their home requested assistance from the district after learning the position of their new sewer line had caused a change in the property’s easement, resulting in significantly higher construction costs.
Bob Marcuccilli commented if the board granted assistance in this case, “everybody is going to come wanting assistance,” as easements were changed throughout the district during the construction phase. The request was denied.
During the engineering update, President Jim Haney requested Carson LLP, LRSD’s legal representation, send a letter to Advanced Rehabilitation Technology concerning unfinished restoration work, which was supposed to have been performed during the warranty period following construction. According to the Carson representative, ART may be in breach of the warranty contract.
According to LRSD Treasurer Mike DeWald, the State Board of Accounts has a new procedure for audits. The SBOA is now subcontracting private firms rather than using its own personnel. Crowe LLP, a South Bend accounting firm, has called for a “mind-bending level of information,” said DeWald, in its audit of LRSD, its first in three years.
LRSD’s water treatment plant was found in violation by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management due to high levels of phosphorous in the month of August. The violation resulted from a faulty chemical feed pump. Astbury’s Don Neff said such problems were typical in a plant’s first year of operation and it is under control.
Cathy Selrig, a local contractor, experienced some sewer problems of her own when an unconnected lateral pipe discharged sewage into her property, eventually inundating her furnace and air conditioning. A claim of $15,091 will be sent to Selge Construction who was responsible for connection.
In a 4-2 vote, the board voted to cover expenses for the installation of a drain in the yard of Theresa Guetzlaff at a cost not to exceed $1,000. Haney and board member Greg Mitchell voted against the majority because of doubt as to who is to blame for the flooding, which may have occurred due to damage sustained during the installation of a grinder and subsequent repair work performed by ART.
The board voted to approve the renewal of LRSD’s USI Insurance Services policy. The $21,500 premium is up from $19,600, though it will stay the same during the next two years, during which time premiums are expected to rise as a result of extreme weather events such as the increasing number of hurricanes.