By David Hazledine
WARSAW — Lakeland Regional Sewer District board of trustees bid farewell to Sue Ann Mitchell at the close of its regular public meeting Nov. 17. Mitchell, an active public servant who also serves on the Kosciusko County Council, cited a desire to spend more time with family as her reason for resigning.
Jim Haney, LRSD board president, recalled how Mitchell filled in for Bob Sanders after his unexpected death in 2017. “She stepped in and didn’t miss a beat,” he said. Like Sanders, Mitchell provided a crucial link to county government. She was also instrumental in helping the district navigate the complexities of liens and tax sales, sometimes, Haney noted, correcting mistakes with her “attention to detail.”
Mitchell’s “willingness to be a public servant,” said Haney, “has made the district and all Kosciusko County a better place to live.”
Mitchell returned the compliment. “I’m proud of this district,” she said, citing the “meticulous and professional way” the board handles customers’ money. “I applaud you from the community.”
Mitchell concluded by offering her help on “any issue have … all you have to do is call.”
The following items also came before the LRSD board:
Treasurer Mike DeWald reported a cash balance of roughly $2,111,000, $1,337,000 of which belongs to the district with the remainder owed to U.S. Department of Agriculture. A total of $1,160,000 is currently invested and paying interest, he added.
DeWald also reported the district’s management cash budget is at $1,474,000, $46,000 better than expected, largely as a result of regular sewer billing. “We’re collecting better than we thought,” he said.
On the other hand, DeWald reported the maintenance budget is at $37,000, with $38,000 budgeted for the year and two months remaining.
The board approved an insurance payment of $76,995.93.
The board voted to form a committee to resolve issues with independent contractors outside of public meetings following lengthy discussions concerning Astbury Water Technologies, which oversees the treatment plant, pump and pipeline operations, during its October meeting. The committee will be chaired by Bob Marcuccilli, with Haney and Joe Cleland also participating.
Among the issues the committee will be reviewing will be how best to approach the repair grinder pumps, and whether or not to create an in-house motor repair shop run by Astbury.
During Astbury reports, Mike Rippey informed the board a Scadata system modem failure in lift station 3 has been repaired after being down for three weeks.
A generator needed for Lake Estates held up due to supply chain problems now has an expected Nov. 21 shipping date. Board members requested email notification when the generator arrives.
Tom Astbury reported Haskins Underground should complete work flushing pipes throughout the system by Thanksgiving. He noted such flushing is important to keep a low pressure system like LRSD in good working order. Areas unoccupied for much of the year, particularly around Shoe Lake, are susceptible to blockages, which are often related to air pockets creating back pressure.
When the work is completed, the district may also have useful data with which to run analytics, said Astbury.
Following an inspection by DLZ Engineering and Astbury, both agree there is no immediate need to replace a bar screen with a smaller perforation size. No indications of anything interfering with plant operations were discovered, said DLZ’s William Doyle.
The board approved authorizing up to $5,000 for the replacement of a control panel and worn brushes in the sewer plant.