On Thursday, the Cloverdale Town Council passed ordinance 2006-11 calling for the fixing of rates and charges from town property owners for its new wastewater treatment facility.
The board learned in November that bids it received for the treatment facility came in higher than expected, forcing the town to take out an additional loan. The original estimated cost for the facility called for $2 million in construction. However, the town voted in favor of accepting a bid from Bowen Engineering in November at an estimated $2.71 million, forcing the town to take out the additional loan of $720,000.
At its regular December meeting, James Treat, representative of town financial adviser Krohn and Associates, met with the council to amend ordinance 2006-5, which called for the fixing of rates and charges to be collected by the town from property owners served by the sewage works.
The original ordinance, voted on earlier this year, called for rates and charges of the sewage works to be split in two phases. New wastewater rates went into effect in Cloverdale on July 1 and different rates were scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2007.
However, because the bid the town received from Bowen Engineering came in higher than expected, the town had to amend the ordinance.
Based on the original ordinance, town residents that use 2,000 gallons of water per month would see an increase of $7 on their monthly bill in the first phase of the increase. The original ordinance called for an additional increase of nearly $5 per month in the second phase of the project.
However, the amended ordinance calls for an additional increase of nearly $3 when the second phase of the project kicks in next month.
The town had scheduled a public hearing for Thursday for residents to give opinions on the rate changes and to finalize approval of the rate changes. Only five residents attended Thursday's meeting and none offered an opinion.
After reading the amended ordinance, council president Don Sublett asked the board for a motion to accept.
But council member Glenn Vickroy expressed concern over the rate changes.
"What's going to happen when these people can't pay their sewer bill," Vickroy asked.
"I don't know the answer," Sublett said.
"They'd be cut off," council member John Davis said.
However, Davis added it was not him saying that residents would be cut off, but rather the ordinance.
Still, Vickroy said he believed that would be harsh.
However, Vickroy made the final motion to accept the amended changes, with Sublett making the second. The board voted unanimously in favor of the measure.
Meanwhile, the board received an update from Sublett regarding the ethanol plant being constructed north of town.
Sublett said he, along with Davis and town utility manager Mike Gray, had recently been invited to the plant, owned by Altra Indiana LLC, a subsidiary of California-based Altra Inc.
On Thursday, Sublett told the board the trio was presented a drawing of the plant and that Robert Curry of Curry and Associates Engineering, Danville, had recently requested the town accept a notion of intent for a water main extension for part of the plant.
Sublett said Curry had told him he would mail the request to the Indiana Department of Environ-mental Management if the board voted in favor of the measure.
Sublett added construction -- according to Curry -- was to begin in February 2007.
Gray, however, said the board should contact Curry regarding the sewer ban the town is facing.
"But I don't think that's going to be an issue," Gray said.
Sublett then asked for a motion to sign the notice of intend, with Vickroy giving the motion. Sublett made the second and the board voted 3-2 in favor of the measure, with board members Judy Whitaker and Davis voting no.
Whitaker said she voted no because the motion included no wording on the sewer ban or anything that would protect the town.
She asked that the motion be amended, to which Vickroy said he amended his motion, but then said nothing.
Whitaker also pointed out that she nor Davis could amend the motion because they voted against it.
Sublett said he would tell Curry about the ban, but Whitaker believed the wording should be included in the motion.
"My word means nothing," Sublett said.
"It's not only for our protection, it's for their protection as well," Whitaker said.
The board amended the previous motion and voted in favor of the original notice of intent with the additional wording by a 5-0 vote.