WARSAW – With final approval from the state in hand, organizers of the Tippecanoe Chapman Regional Sewer District are ready to get busy.
The new district, though, needs some board members before a real decision can be hashed out. Officials are hoping to fill most of the seven seats on the district board by the end of January, according to county attorney Chad Miner during a board of commissioners meeting Monday, Dec. 23.
The breakdown of seats includes two from the commissioners, two from county council one each from Plaine and Tippecanoe Townships. The final opening will be reserved for the treatment operator, but that’s can’t be filled immediately because that company has not been selected yet, Ken Jones, of Jones Petrie Rafinski told the commissioners.
Nearly a dozen people have expressed being considered for the new board, Jones said.
The board seats will be two and four years long and will be staggered, Jones said.
The commissioners and council are expected to compare notes before making recommendations.
Those seeking appointment by the legislative or fiscal bodies do not have to be residents – meaning landlords are eligible.
When the district’s inaugural meeting happens, officers will be elected, the board will adopt rules, seek to retain advisors and then establish a regular meeting time, according to paperwork provided by JPR.
While a treatment provider has not been chosen, Jones did say that it appears having the city of Warsaw would provide the least expensive treatment cost. The other two alternatives would involve connecting to Lakeland Regional Sewer District or constructing a new treatment plant.
Those seeking appointment by the legislative or fiscal bodies need to be members of the community and be taxpayers, but don’t have to be residents – meaning landlords are eligible.
Among the first steps the district will take:
- Complete an updated preliminary engineering report.
- Prepare a funding model
- Prepare a facility plan, including the operating structure
- Submit funding applications
- Prepare and approve a bond authorization ordinance.
- Provide notice of intent to extend service by mail or by publication.
- Begin design work
In another matter, the commissioners followed the recommendation of the plan commission and rejected a petition that sought to rezone about 10 acres from residential to agriculture to be potentially used for a 5G cell tower near the airport.
The land, owned by Derrick Deeter, is on Prairie Street, south of CR 400N.
Deeter’s attorney, Steve Snyder, argued that the land is not suited well for residential development and that the commissioners should not focus on the cell tower aspect and look at what zoning classification is best for the land.
Snyder said the board of zoning appeals is the appropriate board to consider if the cell tower would be appropriate for the property.
Commissioner Cory Groninger suggested with pressing demand for more residential growth, that it would be best to leave the ground zoned residential.
One nearby resident, Gene Hawkins, expressed concerns about how a cell tower would hurt his ability to someday sell his home and wondered aloud about health risks sometimes associated with cell towers.
The commissioners also thanked Highway Superintendent Scott Tilden for his years of service. Tilden is retiring after 12 years with the county, including nine as the department head. He was presented with a plaque.
Before leaving, Tilden was granted approval to seek bids on two new dump trucks. Delivery and use of the truck will take up to 12 to 13 months before they are available. He was also given the approval to purchase two motors for a combined cost of $51,000.
The commissioners also approved providing $5,000 that will be matched by the town of Syracuse to study ways to improve access for trucks and employees to Polywood at 1001 W Brooklyn St.
Alan Tio, director of Kosciusko County Economic Development Corp., made the request. Officials are expected to look at three alternatives to improve traffic access.