By Deb Patterson
NORTH WEBSTER — “I don’t think it is right to put (the cost) on individual property owners,” stated Ed Ormsby, board member of the Tippecanoe & Chapman Lakes Regional Sewer District. “The folks who don’t have a lot of money it puts a big burden on them.”
Ormsby’s comment was among several made by board members Monday night during the monthly meeting of the sewer district board. The discussion focused on the board establishing the fairest policy for the location of pump basins, a decision needed to complete the pre-engineering report.
Ken Jones, president of Jones Petrie Rafinski, noted this is an important topic and a decision should not be made lightly. He suggested two options – accommodating the property owner within the property or a central location along the right of way.
There was lengthy discussion about the two options, estimated costs, and questions how other districts handled such a policy and if there were any repercussions from freeholders. It was noted the basin costs could be up to one-third of construction costs.
Jon Tyler, board president, and Chuck Simpson, board member, questioned if there could not be an exception or contingency policy for certain locations. It appeared to have a consensus of board members.
Jones, who stated the policy would be up to the board, did offer and was asked to do a field reconnaissance to provide the board information on where there would be a significant distance to run pipe to the basin. This information will be presented at the November meeting.
There was also discussion concerning power supply to the pumps as NIPSCO and KREMC service both areas. While NIPSCO provides a flat tariff, it is unknown the charge by KREMC. Jones stated some districts require the property owners to provide power to the grinder pumps. No action was taken.
“I’m concerned about putting high dollars on individuals,” said Ormsby, adding for some there will be a lot more cost than for others. “I’m concerned about those who can’t afford it.” Tyler added “nobody wants to see that.’
Jones presented a progress report noting every point his company has been authorized to work on is well in the works. He will present an analysis at the next meeting on low pressure and vacuum alternative comparisons. Additionally the assembly of a mailing list for property owners in the service area is being compiled not only for potential easement acquisition but also for notifications of meetings and billings.
It was decided notifications of public hearings and dissemination of important information will be done through direct mail along with newspaper notifications.
Additional discussion focused on how and when claims should be submitted and the processing protocol. It was also noted the address for the district should be updated to P.O. Box 572, North Webster.
Board members agreed to have all claims for payment submitted by the end of the month for approval at the next month’s meeting. The four claims submitted thus far: Ice Miller, Baker Tilly, JPR and Chad Miner were approved for payment. Patrica Zelmer, Ice Miller, will be asked to show the hours the district is being billed. The claims submitted were: $37,400 for engineering and $563 for web design by JPR, $25,000 from Ice Miller, $22,676.49 by Baker Tilly and $1,287.32 by Miner.
In other business the board signed a year lease with the North Webster Community Center at a cost of $6,900 annually ($575 per month). This includes an office space on the west side of the building. The board also accepted JPR as the engineering firm for the project in accordance with the USDA’s qualified base selection process.
Before the meeting was closed, four questions from the public were addressed by the board. These focused on other districts that use a vacuum pressure system, possibility of a payment plan for those with financial hardships, cost exceptions for non single family properties, possibility of a tax increment finance district, and if there are exceptions for connections when a new home is built.
The next meeting of the board will be at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 9, in the banquet hall at the North Webster Community Center.