By Brianna Pitts
SIDNEY — Sidney Town Council weighed the pros and cons, but ultimately approved, implementing the Tax Refund Exchange and Compliance System, also known as TRECS, for people with unpaid sewer bills.
TRECS is a program allowing counties and towns to collect outstanding debts owed to local units of government by intercepting personal state income tax refunds. Indiana Code 6-8.1-9.5 was passed in 2017 and this law authorized the program.
Sidney Town Council President Sharon Rancourt brought TRECS to the council to discuss whether or not they should move forward with it, due to the sizeable funds not being paid. Council Member Brandon Allen agreed, saying, “These unpaid bills are amounting to about half the money needed if one of the old blowers quits. I think we should move forward with it.”
The council also gave Chris Bradford, maintenance department head, permission to start painting curbs in town.
The council also had a discussion about sidewalks and how it is considered unsafe to walk along SR 13 due to people speeding. Parrett was asked to contact the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office about information on signs to put in town to prevent this behavior.
The budget has been finalized and approved by the council in the amount of $96,800, a 6% increase from last year. Rancourt also addressed that since three years ago when they took over, the town’s revenue has grown 16%. Because of this, the council has now been able to add a new line item in the budget dedicated to public safety, which will go toward police coverage.
The Community Crossings Grant study has been completed with three roads in town deemed poor: Arthur, from Monroe Street to North Street; Washington Street from Center Street; and a small, unnamed section of road that surrounds a residence. These will be the next target areas. The council said they hoped to work through their problem roads on a cycle of improvement every five to seven years.
Sidney will also be getting fiber internet through Kosciusko Connect. They began working on it the third week of October on installing the base work necessary for the tower, with the service expected to start servicing homes by the end of the first quarter in 2024. This will provide the town with much more efficiency when it comes to Internet. The town will be sending out a flyer to all Sidney residents about the new Internet option and different services available to them.
The council is also considering putting sidewalks back where they used to be, but knows this will likely cause an upset in the community. However, Rancourt said, “Our job is not to look after individual’s feelings when it comes to this, it is to look after the town’s best interest.” Rancourt continued, “”We have to make safe walking spaces for moving the town forward and making it family friendly.”
The next meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 12.