By Caleigh Byrer
NORTH WEBSTER — All members of the Tippecanoe-Chapman Sewer District board were present, with Jeff Rowe and Jeff Thornburgh in attendance via Zoom, for the Monday, Oct. 10, monthly meeting. The board discussed closing paperwork to finalize the project, moved forward with billing and heard two public comments.
An addition to the project was discussed contingent on funding: a vacant lot outside the district boundaries had already received approval from the county commissioners prior to its presentation to the board. Engineering requested the board’s consensus on including the lot in project, as it would add $31,100 to project costs.
The board decided to temporarily table discussion on adding the lot. They took issue with the amount of time it would take to get financial approval for the lot to be added. Andrew Boxberger, attorney, stated, “I would hate to say you’re in our district now, but you can’t connect.”
The board also approved the Jones Petrie Rafinski inspectors who were recommended to them. Chuck Simpson asked whether the inspectors would be looking at customer connections, to which Steve Henschen, project engineer with JPR, stated the inspection of customer connections would commence after the completion of the main project.
Billing of the interim rate will begin Dec. 1, which the board gave more insight into in response to Jeff Thornburgh’s concerns. Thornburgh stated he thought the board should begin billing as soon as possible and questioned why they must bill in arrears and are not billing in November, as the project will be closed by then.
Jeff Rowe stated, “they are paying for the use of the system, they don’t want to pay in advance of service.” In addition to the consideration of the community, the coupon books for payment would likely not be ready to go out yet.
Jane Eyler asked if there would be an automatic debit option rather than having to use the coupon books. The board believed there would be, but they couldn’t guarantee it at this time. Contact information for billing questions will be provided in the future.
Robert Lutton expressed frustration with the board, as he had not received a letter allowing him to proceed with adding a second story to his home. He felt he was being put on hold when he didn’t necessarily need to be.
The project is very likely to proceed, so he was having difficulty understanding why he could not get approval prior to the end of October. Boxberger recognized his concerns and frustration but stated there was nothing they could do until the project closed.
The project closing will take place at the end of the month, with USDA Rural Development closing on Oct. 20, State Revolving Fund closing on Oct. 21 and the effective date of construction will likely be Oct. 25.
The project in its entirety is anticipated to conclude mid to late September or October of 2024. The board plans to add this and other major project dates and details to their website.