By Lasca Randels
LEESBURG — Sean Travis, Northern Indiana district manager at USIC Locating Services, attended Monday night’s Leesburg Town Council meeting to discuss continuing issues with electric locates.
The town of Leesburg has a contract with USIC. The company, with headquarters in Indianapolis, performs over 80 million marks – or locates – annually.
In July 2018, Derek Tenney of Tenney & Sons, Inc., told council members that two sewer lines and power lines were cut accidentally due to not being properly located and marked.
Since that time, there have been additional incidents with electric lines, despite council members reaching out to USIC in an attempt to address the problem.
In September, Tenney informed the town council that electric locates were not done at two residences. Town Attorney Vern Landis sent a letter to the company, requesting that a USIC representative be present at the October town council meeting; however, no one from the company attended.
Council members then requested that Landis send a letter to the company’s corporate headquarters asking that a representative attend the November meeting.
Council Member Tom Moore said previously that the confusion appears to be related to ownership of utility wires coming off the sewer grinder pumps and control boxes.
“They think they belong to the utility company and they do not,” Moore said at a recent town council meeting.
Travis told council members Monday, Nov. 9, that years ago there were no issues with Leesburg utility locates.
“I was already well aware that the ownership of those lines was on the town of Leesburg. We had, over time, lost a contract with NIPSCO,” Travis said. “So when that contract was gone, our technicians in the field believed that those lines were owned by NIPSCO, so they stopped marking them. What happened was that over time and word of mouth, that just became the norm.”
Travis said he was unaware until recently that Leesburg town officials were attempting to reach him due to outdated contact information. Once contact was made with Travis, he stated he immediately contacted his area supervisor.
“I made it very clear to my technicians in the field that we are to be locating those utility lines — that they are our responsibility,” Travis said.
According to Travis, the downside in this situation is that, although USIC can do the vast majority of locates without any issue, occasionally they run into a situation where they are unable to locate and are also unable to access the control panel boxes due to company policy regarding safety issues.
Moore recommended having a strip of insulated wire sticking out from the boxes so that USIC technicians can connect.
“Ultimately, as long as we have a way to connect to it that is safe for our people, we’ll get it marked,” Travis said.
He also provided updated contact information to town council members.
In other news:
- The Leesburg Candelaria is scheduled for Dec. 12.
- Council members expressed condolences for the loss of Leesburg Clerk-Treasurer Mike Searfoss’s mother.
- Council approved an amended ordinance addressing golf cart usage in town. The new ordinance includes dirt bikes, motorized scooters and mini bikes. No one under the age of 16 is permitted to operate these vehicles on city streets.
- An executive session will be held at 6 p.m. Nov. 16, to discuss the town employee salary ordinance.
- Ccouncil agreed to continue the reduced sewer rate for businesses at this time.
- A bid in the amount of $1,800 was approved for the old town snowplow. The bid was submitted by Carlin Yoder.
- Council members discussed the possibility of joining Kosciusko County Area Plan Commission. No decision has been made.
- Leesburg town officials would like the public to be aware of the following information:
No parking on any street between 3-5 am
Please be mindful of what you flush
Speed Limits in town are 25 mph
- The next regular meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 14.