REELSVILLE -- Customers of Reelsville Water Authority are invited to a customer appreciation picnic on Saturday. Those in attendance will have the opportunity to exercise their right to vote.
The water authority is looking to opt out of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. To do so, it needs the votes of its consumers. Through the IURC, rate increases could mean big hikes at once. Instead, Reelsville is looking to make small increases over time to help cover big costs in the future.
"It's a win-win situation for everyone by opting out of the IURC," said operations director Mike Varvel.
The move is not unprecedented. In the late 1990s, Greencastle opted out and was followed by Big Walnut, Waveland, Russellville and several others.
"We are looking ahead," Varvel said of the increases.
The water authority has come a long way since being incorporated in 1966 at a net worth of $341,000 with 220 customers and 25 miles of line. By the end of the 1980s, the operation's net worth and customers had doubled.
The next big expansion took place in 2004 to 2005, when it added Putnamville's state farm to the customer list and the million-gallon elevated tank.
"Now, we have our own water treatment plant," said Jimmy Proctor, who helped found the water authority and has retired as its treasurer. "Before 2004, we were just a small rural water company."
Today, Reelsville services about 900 customers with 90 miles of line and has a net worth of $8 million. It wants to show some appreciation to those customers by hosting the second annual customer appreciation picnic Saturday at the water treatment plant, located on US 40.
Burgers, hot dogs, beans cooked in an iron pot and lots of side dishes will be served from noon to 4 p.m. There will be a big bouncehouse, children's games and door prizes. A live band, The Haymaker from Rosedale, will be performing. The picnic has been made possible through donations.
"It's our way of giving back to the customers," said Varvel. "It will be a fun day; bring the family."