Fillmore council approves rate study
FILLMORE -- A number of matters concerning water and sewers were on the mind of Fillmore Town councilors as they conducted their Thursday evening meeting.
Chief among these was the approval of a utility rate study. As the town continues to try and boost finances, clerk-treasurer Wanda Seidler reported that Fillmore is past due for such a study.
While past inquiries into a study came with a price tag of more than $2,000, the study can be performed for $900.
Councilors unanimously approved the proposal.
The study will be performed by accountant Charlene Brown, who has been working with Seidler on town finances.
In looking at other matters pertaining to the town's utility funds, Seidler has been informed by the USDA that a minimum water billing rate is required for all customers.
In the past, residents who spend the winter elsewhere or who leave homes unoccupied for other reasons have had to pay a minimum sewer charge, but no water bill at all.
According to the USDA, this does not meet the terms of the town's bond. There will now be a two-unit minimum on all water bills, which is a charge of approximately $25.
The clerk-treasurer also expressed her concern about the sewer adjustments the town grants for residents filling pools. Fillmore has a practice of granting sewer adjustments to customers who come to the town office saying they have filled their pool.
The idea is that while they should be charged for the water usage, there is no corresponding sewer usage. The water remains in the pool rather than going down the drain.
However, Seidler has requested that this courtesy not be granted to customers with outstanding past-due balances on their water and sewer service.
Council members appeared agreeable to the idea, but no decision was made. The matter may be discussed further, as town attorney Mary Russell has advised against any such adjustment being granted.
Councilors also approved an amendment to the sewer ordinance. The new amendment requires the installation of sanitary waste facilities in any structure meant for human habitation that lies within 300 feet of a town sewer line.
Also on the sewer front, residents along South Main Street have had recent problems with backups in the sewer. When the pipes in the area were pumped out, large amounts of grease and possibly some gravel were found among the contents.
Council members discussed the possibility of running a camera through the line to search for the sources of the grease as well as possible infiltration points.
The sanitary sewer will also be examined when Main Street is excavated for the upcoming storm sewer and repaving project.
The stormwater project continues to move forward, with bid opening set for 3 p.m. on Thursday, June 27.
Following a pre-bid meeting earlier on Thursday, plans for the project are available for public review at Fillmore Town Hall, 3 N. Main St.
In other business:
* Council approved the annual renewal of tax abatements for Liberty Industries.
Putnam County Economic Development director Bill Dory reported that with the recent addition of new equipment, the company now employs 21 people.
"We're seeing that in some of our other employers around the county," Dory said. "Employment is up as our economy starts to recover."
* Councilor Tami Van Rensselaer also reported her findings regarding the demolition of abandoned structures. While it is acceptable to burn the wood part of structures for demolition, all other materials must be removed prior to burning.
In the future, anyone burning a house for demolition purposes will need an Indiana Department of Environmental Management permit to do so, otherwise the fire department can extinguish the fire.
* There will be no regular meeting of the council in July. The first Thursday of the month falls on July 4.
Between the June 27 bid opening and meeting to grant the bid at some point in July, the council will be meeting for the stormwater project, so any other town business can be addressed at those special public meetings.
Story will appear in print in Wednesday's Banner Graphic