Storm water rates rising to pay bond, offset costs

BOURBON — Storm water ERU rates were on the table at the Bourbon Town Council meeting last Tuesday evening. Eric Walsh and Tom Blake from H.J. Umbaugh and Associates, CPAs from Mishawaka, were on hand to explain in detail their requested analysis of the current rate structure.
In their report, they noted that the current rate of $6/ERU (equivalent residential unit) is not paying off the bond issue which financed the storm water improvements. This is the current monthly charge which residential users see on their water bills. The Umbaugh CPAs observed that the town was dipping into other funds to make the payments.
They offered two options for fully funding the bond issue: raise the ERU rate to $7.40/month to fully pay the bond, or raise the ERU rate to $8.31/month which would pay off the bond plus give the town $15,000 per year for maintenance of the system.
The Council voted unanimously to raise the rate to $8/month, which would cover the bond payment and give about $12,000 annually for maintenance.
In an issue with the utility payments on the three concession stands on the football and softball fields, it was noted that the Triton School Corporation had been paying $790.04 on the Kyle’s Koncessions unit although the town had agreed to cover the utilities. To complicate matters, some of the stands are on town property while others are on school property. Council voted to reimburse the school corporation the $790.04 while exploring combining the five separate meter charges into one.
In a positive note, it was announced that town attorney Mark Wagner had received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Bremen Chamber of Commerce. The award noted his heavy involvement in the Bremen tennis program, his church, and other philanthropic endeavors. All Council members congratulated Wagner on this recognition.
In a continuing matter, town parking was discussed in light of Harmony Press employees parking all day in spaces on the Main Street which are only designated for two-hour parking. The business has a continuing problem finding adequate employee parking. Tim Harman, owner, has been discussing the problem with Council members and affected business owners. Council made an offer on a parcel a block away which could be used as an additional parking lot. The offer was declined by the owner. Council will continue to work with Harman to solve this issue.
The ongoing issue of the condemnation of the house located at 103 N. Harris St. was continued as a public hearing scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 17 at the Town Council Chambers. At the hearing, the owner and any residents who wish may address the Council on the matter. The old Pilot News building was also discussed in the same light. The pertinent ordinance will be used to begin the process of condemnation on that building as well.
Police Chief Bill Martin submitted his report which listed three felony and nine misdemeanor arrests in September, 2841 miles traveled on patrol, and 33 foot patrols, which includes walk-throughs of the two school buildings.
He also said that the town had not received $1,327.20 for work with the DUITF (driving under the influence task force). The Council decided to wait until the upcoming County Commissioners meeting to see if the payment is listed on vouchers to be paid.
Martin also requested and received permission to apply for a free army surplus Humvee. If received, the Humvee would be painted black like the patrol vehicles and used in the D.A.R.E. program.
Roger Terry, Street Department superintendent, reported that leaf pickup will begin next week. The Council also approved ordinance 2013-3, which allows leaves to be piled in the right-of-way (property on either side of the street), but not in the street. This is to prevent clogging of the storm water drainage system, and will be enforced with tickets issued by the Police Department.
Water Department Superintendent Mike Shoda noted that the new GPS equipment has arrived. Three town employees will attend training next week on the units, which will then be used to begin mapping the town’s water mains and infrastructure using GPS technology.
Code Enforcement Officer Bill Keyser reported that owners had requested that three parcels of land owned by them north of town be annexed by the town. The owners want to develop one parcel of the 80 acres for residential dwellings and the other two parcels for commercial use. The town is required to complete a fiscal report on providing services to the area. The cost of such a report will be investigated and brought back to Council.
Member Wattenbarger suggested an adjustment to the Matchett Senior Center rental rate for the crafts people at Christmas. A local caterer also asked to use the kitchen at the facility for the regular rate. It was also suggested that the ash trees at the site be removed before the green ash borer beetle kills them. All of these notes were approved.
Member Hanley thanked town Clerk/Treasurer Kim Berger for all of her work. He also expressed an interest in the town continuing the tradition of sponsoring a Christmas decorating contest. The prizes awarded will again by $100, $75, and $50. The judging will be done the second weekend in December. Berger will announce contest details closer to the date.
It was announced that there will be a town employees meeting Monday at 4 p.m. and a police officers’ meeting at 5 p.m. to discuss the 2014 budget and salaries.