BAINBRIDGE -- An overflowing crowd packed the Bainbridge Community room Wednesday night to get information about an option being presented to improve the roads in Heritage Lake.
Homeowners at the private lake were asked to consider invoking the Barrett Law in order to obtain a bond to pay to resurface the roads at the lake. This meeting was an attempt to supply information about the Barrett Law and how it will affect property owners.
The meeting resulted in board members asking homeowners to go to the Putnam County government page and send their comments to county commissioners.
Ed Slam, president of the association, told the group at the end of the evening the road committee and board would have to discuss what their next step would be.
The meeting kicked off with Slam explaining what the meeting was about and then turning it over to Dan Antico to explain some facts about Heritage Lake roads, including information about the community, roads and taxes.
Antico gave a breakdown of what property taxes are spent on.
"None of them go to road maintenance," he said. The majority of the taxes go to the North Putnam School system (65 percent), with 24 percent going to the county.
Throughout the evening, different people called for an immediate vote of those present to accept or refuse to move forward with pursuing a bond by using the Barrett Law.
Slam explained that no vote could be taken that evening and reminded the group that this was an information session only.
This law allows an organization to obtain a bond with long-term financing that would be paid by the homeowners at Heritage Lake mostly likely over a 10-year period.
Complicating the process is the need for an engineering study to take place before actual assessed costs can be determined. The cost for the study is estimated to be between $130,000 to $150,000.
Commissioner Gene Beck was asked if the county would pay for the engineering study.
"If I have $150,000 I'm going to spend it on county roads, not on a study," said Beck.
Tempers ran hot and throughout the meeting, with Bainbridge Town Marshal Rodney Fenwick having to tell one resident to take a seat and stop talking.
Earlier this year, board members from the Heritage Lake Property Owners Association appeared before Putman County Commissioners to ask for help with their roads. With a reduction in the county budget, help was not available from the county.
The Barrett Law idea came from a later meeting between lake members and commissioners as they looked for solutions to find some way to pay for roadwork in the area.
At times, discussion among the audience members made hearing the speakers nearly impossible. A question and answer forum drew fire aimed toward Heritage Lake board members, county commissioners and the road committee.
One woman reported moving to Indiana and regretting it.
"You have some of the strangest laws. I'm sorry I ever moved to Indiana," she said. Audience members told her to move away.
Things grew calmer toward the end of the meeting, with several people thanking the board and commissioners for coming to the meeting. One apologized for the remarks and comments made by some present.
One resident told the Banner Graphic prior to the start of the meeting.
"I live on a circle and understand it will add value by fixing the roads. There is no money coming from the county. If it's $100 a year--maybe I'll vote for it. But what happens in 20 years when the roads need to be paved again?" she asked.
At the end of the meeting she commented, "I haven't changed my mind."