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Roachdale remains focused on gas issue

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

ROACHDALE -- Discussion of a proposed natural gas service again dominated the Roachdale town meeting, which was rescheduled to Monday morning.

The gas line work has been a contentious issue in Roachdale recently. The town has been told it must update the lines or it could face steep fines from the state.

"We've got to get moving on this," said board president William Long.

Members of the community have taken issue with language in an agreement sent out to homeowners in the town, which would allow state employees permission to go onto homeowners' property, dig into the ground near the house and install new gas meters and a riser several feet long to the existing gas connection. The problem some residents have is a result of language that makes the homeowner liable to replace any damage to landscaping or crops as a result of the installation.

"It's only going to be around a four-foot hole they dig," Long said.

The board emphasized that the gas work had to be done.

Council member Jackie Jones reiterated the importance of signing the agreement, saying, "If people don't sign, they can't get gas. It's that simple."

The town has begun to use a second lawyer, William Power, who is familiar with utility issues. He said the language relating to liability is standard for this sort of issue. Power is still looking over information related to this problem, however. Power acknowledged that people can switch to propane rather than allow the new line to be installed. He also said that there is usually an increasing fee structure for this sort of thing.

The town is also facing pressure from the state to move faster on the gas line improvement.

"We're having a hearing April 25 in Indianapolis," Long said. "Bill (Power) will be there. They're down on us because we're not moving fast enough."

The town faces a $10,000 a day fine if it doesn't replace the gas line.

The board also received estimates on road work from three different companies. The board decided to table the discussion of road work, to look them over and make a decision later. Long said they would most likely only do repairs to the worst parts of the road, because of limited funds. He said that was why the board had the estimates broken down into separate prices for the different areas.

"It's just been a really bad year," he said.

The board received an estimate to remove the tree on 7 S. Meridian St. that is no longer stable.

"It really needs to come down, we're liable if it hits a car," Long said.

The town accepted a bid from Arnold's to install a new roof on the town hall building fro $11,600.



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