SOUTH WHITLEY — Resident Ed Ruckman was in attendance at Tuesday’s South Whitley Town Council meeting to voice his concerns on a continuous drainage problem in his front lawn located at 212 Collamer Road.
“Basically, since the streets have gotten redone there was originally an overflow for what it was intended for. Now that banking comes directly into my front yard,” Ruckman said. “It is pretty much destroying my yard and I’m getting all the street trash. I have picked up glass, paper and all kinds of debris that has come down from that drain.”
Utilities manager Dennis Eberhart intervened and said the area used to be a raw sewage overflow years ago, but was recently designed to tie into storm drains from Poplar Street south.
“Maybe a tile could run at the base; I got all kinds of ideas but don’t know what all can be done without actually getting in trouble,” Ruckman said. “It’s already tore up the yard and I‘m concerned about my driveway now.”
David Harvey with project engineers Fleis and Vandenbrink was in attendance who was highly involved in the storm water project and advised Ruckman that he will evaluate the situation soon.
In other business, Harvey provided the council with the final documents for the completed storm water separation project which includes a one year warranty.
“There is improvement and pretty much what we expected,” Harvey said regarding the storm water separation project.
Harvey also outlined Region III-A funding details for phase II of the wastewater treatment facility project.
“A preliminary engineering report is required under the State Revolving Loan Fund Program and I am requesting (council’s) approval not to exceed $25,000,” Harvey said. “The Community Focus Fund (CFF) is assisting Region III-A with that and finalizing cost estimates to reflect the current project as it is.”
The council approved the $25,000 preliminary engineering report.
At 3 p.m. on Dec. 20 there will be a meeting in the town council room for the community to attend and express their concerns on the wastewater project.
“Basically, this is an opportunity for the public to come and voice concerns on the upcoming project,” Eberhart said. “It basically gives the steps we have to take to apply for a $600,000 grant.”
The $2.5 million project is mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
“This is a project we have to do; $600,000 is not going to help pay it all, but every bit helps,” Eberhart said. “I urge the public to come and voice concerns.”
After the public meeting, a proposal will be submitted in January with the actual application submitted in March and grant award anticipated in May.
In new business, Clerk-Treasurer Mitch Winger discussed the monthly garbage fee which is $9.50 a month.
“People have garbage service available to them and have to pay for it whether they use it or not,” Winger said. “Our garbage contractor charges us based on customers who have electric meters, and we had a situation this week with one person who was pretty forceful about not paying for it.”
The council agreed with Winger stating the garbage fee is a standard monthly charge which all residents must pay, regardless if they use the service or not.
“It’s just like water, doesn’t matter if you use a drop of water or not, you still have to pay for the minimal amount of water,” Winger said.
In other business, Dennis Eberhart reported on the chlorination equipment in the wastewater plant which is obsolete.
“We can no longer get parts for it, but we can get it treated in allowance for the old equipment and have it updated to the new version,” Dennis Eberhart said. “We can get a trade-in allowance of approximately $1,200 on the old equipment and we could utilize some of the old equipment for $14,553.”
With the trade-in allowance only good until Dec. 31, Dennis Eberhart requested approval of the new equipment due to a small amount of chlorine being used during the winter months.
“The total amount is $15,753 minus the $1,200 trade-in allowance which equals $14,553,” Dennis Eberhart said. “I want to get our order in before Dec. 31 and do the work sometime next year.”
The council approved the purchase of new chlorination equipment for $14,553 with Winger confident the budget would allow for the purchase.
With a representative from IDEM conducting an audit on downspouts hooking into the sanitary sewer, Dennis Eberhart expressed concerns.
“We had an IDEM audit for long-term control plan and we were in violation of our compliance schedule,” Eberhart said. “We could have a penalty imposed up to $2,500 for each day of any violation. We have to enforce it if we are in violation.”
Town attorney Greg Hockemeyer reviewed the documents from IDEM and will check all legalities involved.
“Health and safety are usually exempt from non-conforming issues and I think this gets into health and safety issues,” Hockemeyer said. “It’s not real clear that you can force someone to disconnect.”
Police Chief Dave Wilkinson reported on reserve deputy Jessica Lewis resigning effective Nov. 23.
The next meeting is at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 28.