Russellville council briefed on water project

Thursday, July 22, 2021
Russellville Water Tower

RUSSELLVILLE — Replacing Russellville’s dilapidated water tower is still waiting in the wings. At this juncture, funding remains the greatest consideration.

Brian Bullock of Beam, Longest and Neff (BLN) gave a brief update on the town’s newest bid to replace the water tower Wednesday evening. As he did at the council’s meeting last month, he spoke on the funding options available for the project.

The town recently submitted its application for a Community Development Block Grant through the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA). The grant would cover $700,000 of the projected $1.32 million improvement. This would entail a local match of $620,000 with loans through the Indiana State Revolving Fund.

While it was a concern that the town could not co-mingle federal funds, Bullock said both the OCRA grant and one through Indiana’s State Water Infrastructure Fund (SWIF) could be treated as local matches. Through SWIF, the state will administer $100 million from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) for water improvements.

Last month, the council approved submitting an application to SWIF as a separate one from OCRA. A stipulation is that, besides being approved, specific grant amounts can be determined by the state.

Bullock said the announcement for SWIF grantees would come around the same time as those for OCRA, which is set for Aug. 12.

With the unknowns, he suggested that the town reach out to the Putnam County Commissioners with regard to the $7 million alloted to the county through ARP. Last June, the commissioners and the Putnam County Council established an advisory board for potential uses of these funds.

Contingent on Town Attorney Stu Weliever looking at it, the council approved an agreement with BLN as the project’s designer.

The council also approved an engagement letter with Ice Miller as bond counsel. Ice Miller will ensure the validity of bonds issued for the project.

In other business:

• The council approved Resolution 2021-1 establishing a policy for its members participating in meetings virtually. The policy follows House Enrolled Act 1437, which provides that at least 50 percent of members must be physically present, and that members may not attend more than two consecutive meetings virtually.

• The council approved shutting down the road from Harrison Street to 2nd Street for the second Rib Fest planned for Sept. 25. The closure will be from approximately 6 a.m. on Sept. 25 to 6 a.m. the next day. Organizers said the setup would be similar to last year except for having more space to accommodate more visitors.

Norma Jean Gross was the only council member absent at the meeting. Weliever was also absent. Joining council members Cary McGaughey and Cathy Jones were Clerk-Treasurer Martha Mandleco and Town Marshal Matt Biggs.

The next regular meeting of the Russellville Town Council is scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 18 at 7 p.m. at the Russellville Community Center.

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