Patriot Town Council continues talks about improvements to water system countywide

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The Patriot Town Council held its first meeting of 2007 on January 16th, with Jim Caudill, Darrell Kasson, Clerk Pam Hutchinson and Deputy Clerk Linda Fisk present. Kevin Mullikin, C.P.A. with Sherman, Barber, and Mullikin was present to address the council on avenues to develop front-end customer charges. These are also known as system development fees. While these types of charges have not been all that common in Indiana until recently, they have actually been in use in certain areas since the 1920s. After some discussion, questions and answers, Darrell made a motion to table for further review and Jim seconded the motion and thanked Kevin for the presentation.

Jim McNulty from Strand Engineering gave an update on the Improvement Project which has made good progress into January 2007. Warm weather has provided good working conditions even when it has been raining. The frequent rain has made for soft conditions, but has not created unreasonable delays.

C & HM Excavating completed 12″ water main installation up McCreary Ridge through East Enterprise and is currently working on Elam Road.

The booster station to be installed on McCreary’s Ridge Road has been fabricated and will be delivered to the site after the tank contractor is finished.

Caldwell Tanks continues to make good progress on the tank construction. The East Enterprise elevated tank is nearly complete except for painting and site work. The board has selected tank white as the color and the words Patriot Water will be on the tank unless other instructions are provided. The ground storage tank on McCreary Ridge is under construction with steel work underway.

Infrastructure Systems Inc. has completed well drilling and testing and is now constructing the well houses and making water main connections. The progress of work has been good.

Overall the project is approximately 62 percent complete, including stored materials. All contracts are on or ahead of schedule with most of the difficult work completed. The State Revolving Fund staff will be conducting a project inspection in the near future to verify the progress.

McNulty told council that they need to make some decisions on the next project to construct to have projects ready in the event the SRF project is completed with significant funds remaining as we expect. Some of the projects to be considered are the water main replacement on east SR 156 from Ash Street to Evan’s Hill Road, water main replacement on Searcy Ridge Road (including Ascherman Road and T. Gurley Road) down Sand Run Road to SR 156 west, Beatty Ridge Road, Campbell Road and Popcorn Ridge Road. These existing water mains are inadequate to provide needed capacity because of growth over the years. IDEM requires a minimum of four inch mains. Leftover funds can also be used to paint existing storage tanks.

Council approved the adoption of a service charge ordinance which will replace the present disconnect/reconnect fee.

Town Clerk Pam Hutchinson requested the town lawyer be asked to research customer account confidentiality.

Council again would like to remind all customers that they are responsible to pay for water that passes through their meter and a shut-off valve is required within five feet of the meter.

Linda Fisk presented a proposal for a credit/debit card machine versus auto bank withdrawal to allow customers to pay their bills. Some customers have asked about these services. After some discussion the matter was tabled.

Utility Superintendent Sherry Ogden was absent but submitted the following report: 10 leaks fixed, the patriot wells pumped 21,08,600 gallons of water while the Florence well pumped 7,962,600 gallons of water.

In old business, Bev Stoops asked about her future as a meter reader. Council advised her that there will be an executive session later to discuss the matter. Previously, council had determined that the present meter reading method wasn’t working and would be going back to the independent contractor method so all meters could be read every month. Council has been interviewing potential meter readers and insists that she put her application as well.

Lou Kappes suggested a fill be installed on the new McCreary’s Ridge tank. There has not been a fill at the old East Enterprise tank for over a year because of vandalism. Council tabled the matter.

Jim Caudill was elected as president again. Council read and accepted council member Kathy Workman’s letter of resignation. President Caudill thanked her for her service.

Council approved the purchase of five large interior trash cans for the town hall to be purchased from the Belterra fund. Town employee George Miller requested a reimbursement on his cell phone bill while using it to conduct business. Council approved the reimbursement. George further requested council to approve the purchase of a cell phone for him to use because the majority of his work is to coordinate and manage projects. He presented a proposal which council tabled. Council advised George to use the office phone for now.

Roy Boling and Danny Back from Patriot/Posey Park and Recreation on the riverbank and park study being done by Strand. Roy Boling informed council that the county council recently approved to pay for developmental study on the Patriot Boat Ramp property. Roy Boling asked Patriot Council to give $5,000 toward the cost of the study. Town council agreed. The study is being done by VS Engineering, Inc. The Patriot/Posey Park and Recreation Board is trying to connect the two projects in several different ways.

Sherry Ogden reported that the effluent lift station pump needs to be larger. River City Controls is ordering a two inch pump to replace the existing pump.

The next meeting is February 20th.