By DAVID HAZLEDINE
WARSAW — Lakeland Regional Sewer District Board of Trustees voted to extend its suspension of failure to connect penalties to July 31 at its monthly meeting held July 15. The penalties for not connecting to the sewer system will resume Aug. 1.
The extension was made in response to Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s decision to delay the state’s reopening schedule.
The board also requested attorney Andy Boxberger, Carson LLC, reach out to collection agencies in an effort to pursue debts owed to the district. In recent tax and commissioner’s sales, the district saw more than $30,000 in debt erased, mostly from failure to connect penalties. While ordinances largely prevent the district from pursuing old liens from new owners who purchased properties in such sales, it may use collection agencies. However, members were clear the effort is not worthwhile if in any way costly to the district. A decision will be made at the August meeting.
During maintenance reports, Astbury’s Don Neff reported continued problems related to grease being inappropriately disposed of through the sewer system. He added an operating procedure for reporting such cases is being implemented. Board President Jim Haney said future bills will carry memos about the use of sump pumps, groundwater infiltration and items not to be flushed down toilets. “At some point we will start back charging,” he added.
The board will form a committee composed of members from the board, Astbury, DLZ engineering and Carson LLC to write a subdivision control ordinance to implement protocols for new developments within the district in the future.
During the treasurer’s report by Mike DeWald, the board agreed DeWald had the authority to move up to $250,000 into a money market account. Though the move is only likely to earn very small amounts, members agreed with DeWald “we owe it to customers to do what we can.”
DeWald also reported the district is currently earning roughly $17,000 per month more than the projected budget. This is partially due to lien payments from failure to connect penalties, including $94,000 in July. These payments are not expected to continue in the future, however.
DeWald reported ending cash in all accounts at $1,639,833. The district will also be making a bond payment of $394,000 Aug. 1.
The next meeting of LRSD board of trustees will be Aug. 19.