BAINBRIDGE -- Board members unanimously approved two ordinances concerning updates to utility payment procedures at the Bainbridge Town Council regular business meeting Wednesday.
Ordinance 2010-4 set a 10 percent penalty assessment to utility customer accounts that used a bad check for payments, even if they were received prior to the delinquent deadline and was not assessed a penalty.
Prior to the passing of the ordinance, the code did not give the town the authority to place such a penalty.
The other ordinance updates utility reconnection fees. Under Ordinance 2010-5, Bainbridge Municipal Utilities will charge a $40 reconnection fee for each utility service that is reconnected outside regular business hours of 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., contingent on the availability of an employee to perform the duties, with no change in the $20 fee to reconnect during business hours.
The fee increase is intended "so the town will no longer be responsible for absorbing the additional costs associated with reconnections outside regular business hours," according to the ordinance.
Town Council President Richard Cope and clerk-treasurer Jason Hartman also signed a resolution to prepare and submit an application for grant funding to address the development and construction of the town's new park project.
The town is in the process of applying for an Office of Community and Rural Affairs grant worth $500,000. If designated as a recipient of the grant, the town would be responsible for matching $55,600 from its own funds.
Hartman also presented the conditions of the $917,500 grant the town was recently awarded from the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program for completion of the town's Water Improvements Project.
"This is a huge grant," Hartman said. "I've never seen anything like that in Bainbridge that I can remember. ... Not a lot of other towns have this in place."
Hartman also said he received several letters of recommendations from businesses and organizations and grant administrator Kristy Jerrell with West Central Indiana Economic Development District, Inc.
The town will have to purchase updated software for a new billing system, which would cost $20,000 and be paid for by the town's utilities, not from the grant.
Currently the town is using a system that is "very antiquated," Hartman said. Compared to the nearly $1 million the town is receiving from the grant, he said, the estimated cost of the new software is insignificant.
"I don't anticipate water or sewer utilities going up any time soon," he said.
Hartman said the software would not need to be purchased until after May 31, the date the town can start drawing from the grant.
With the new software, Hartman said his hope is for the possibility of bills to be payable online with debit and credit cards.
"Customers will be getting a really great benefit," utility supervisor Jim Nelson said.
Under the conditions of the grant, bids for the renovation projects must be accepted by March 31.
In other town news, hours for trick-or-treating were designated for between 6 and 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31.
The board also gave permission for space outside the community center for next year's Covered Bridge Festival, which is planned for Oct. 14 through 22, 2011.