2018-12-05 / Front Page

Flora’s sewer issues rise to the top for 2019

By Susan Scholl
Editor


Flora Town Council President Josh Ayres attended his last regular council meeting Monday night. Ayres goes off the council at the end of the year after serving on the town council for the past 16 years. Employees, clerk-treasurer Joretta Tinsman and fellow council members Vince Seward and Darrell Yoder presented him with a clock to commemorate his service to Flora. Comet photo Flora Town Council President Josh Ayres attended his last regular council meeting Monday night. Ayres goes off the council at the end of the year after serving on the town council for the past 16 years. Employees, clerk-treasurer Joretta Tinsman and fellow council members Vince Seward and Darrell Yoder presented him with a clock to commemorate his service to Flora. Comet photo Representatives of TBird Design Services Corp., Lafayette, were at Monday night’s Flora Town Council meeting to present strategies for Flora to be removed from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) imposed sewer ban.

TBird President Tim Balensiefer and engineer Clem Kuns distributed a strategy proposal to the council with possibilities for moving the town forward.

Kuns explained the plan is “more or less a continuation and upgrade” of what the town has been doing. The wastewater system is in bad repair and to improve the system, TBird estimates the cost could go as high as $8 to $10 million.

Kuns said he “thinks it’s obtainable” with grants and filling in gaps with loans and other funding mechanisms.

He suggested based on the town’s income levels, the town could qualify for a U.S.D.A. Rural Development grant that would provide up to 70 percent of the funding and mix that with OCRA (Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs) funding.

Town officials committed to IDEM that once the SRF (State Revolving Fund) loan is paid off in 2019, the town will make major strides in resolving the town’s wastewater issues that keep it on a sewer ban.

Kuns said the town needs in January to provide IDEM with an updated plan moving forward to prove it needs monies for this project. The town should apply to OCRA for a $35,000 planning grant now.

According to Kuns, there are a lot of unknowns concerning the wastewater system. It would be helpful to prove need if this project could piggyback on the GIS mapping initiative that the town has already started with WTH Technologies. Besides GIS mapping, investing in real-time flow monitoring equipment would provide “extremely valuable information” at a less than $5,000 investment, he said.

TBird suggested the council and wastewater department look over the proposal and come back with questions.

Water improvement project

Rachel Runge with Commonweath Engineers gave an update on the water plant improvement project. She said the plant expansion is going well, the walls are close to being done and the roof up will go up next. The south water tower will be painted blue in the spring; the primer coat was put on this fall. Following the tank being disinfected, the plan is to have the water tower back in operation this weekend.

Boards and committees

The council discussed 2019 appointments and committees. The park committee is in need of volunteer members. Anyone interested is serving on the committee is asked to contact the town office or a council member.

There is also an unfilled position representing Flora on the Carroll County Economic Development Corp. Jake Adams, who will be a Flora Town Councilman beginning Jan. 1, suggested a council member serve as an ex-officio member of the EDC board.

Ordinances

The $50 registration fee for golf carts will be effective for as long as the motorist owns the vehicle. The change is reflected in Ordinance 2018-08 that was passed after home rules were suspended.

Home rules were suspended for Ordinance 2018-06 regarding the Solar Customer agreement and it was approved on second and third readings by title only.

Home rules were suspended again to pass the 2019 Salary Ordinance on third reading. Ayres said every employee was individually looked at and their evaluations considered.

“Everybody got something, except the council,” he said. The Salary Ordinance is on file in the town office and is available if anyone wants to look at it, Ayres added. Flora Youth Center

Paul Veldhuizen, director of the Flora Youth Center, corner of Main and Center streets, took the opportunity to explain how the Center is providing a safe place for teens ages 12 to 18. He said the Center wants to fill in the gaps for teens by providing life skills, mentoring and tutoring in hopes of creating successful and prosperous citizens. The Center is open from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Veldhuizen said the word is getting out about the Community Center and its mission. He said leaders have been contacted by individuals/groups that are interested in establishing similar programs in their communities.

Police department

Marshal Paul Redmon reported that police received information today (Dec. 3) a little before noon that a student was planning on shooting some people at Carroll Jr.-Sr. High School. He said the student was found and the situation was diffused.

Redmon explained that having Flora Police Officer Rich Ferguson as the school resource officer is a huge advantage.

“Our department is really involved in the schools with their safety program,” Redmon said. “We’ve made a lot of improvements in safety planning and we’re always updating. We have a lot of good things in place. I’m really proud of everyone today.”

Redmon said the reports last week that the fire fatality in Logansport and the overdose death in Flora were related is not true. He said it was coincidental that the man who died is the father of three children who perished in the fire.

The police department activity report for November included: 2 arrests/misdemeanors, 4 felonies, 11 citations, 13 warnings, 37 calls for service, 2 accidents.

Fire department

Flora VFD Chief Todd Trent reported 12 medical runs and three calls for service in November.

Trent said there are issues with the furnace in the bay area and the suggestion from a heating professional is to replace it. The unit is over 25 years old as is the other furnace. Trent secured quotes to replace one or both furnaces from J.L. Anderson Heating & Cooling, Lafayette, and Climatek. Ayres, a Climatek coowner, abstained from the discussion and vote.

The quotes were nearly identical. Councilmen Vince Seward and Darrell Yoder decided to accept the bid of $5,488 from Climatek, the local company.

Trent said the carpet is in and the painting is done in the Fireside Building. Hippensteel Funeral Home donated a new stove and Climatek will put in the stove vent.

However, a problem remains with the clogged sewer pipe in the men’s restroom. Ayres said he knows a man who has a fancy sewer snake that might prove helpful. Park department

The lean-to on the Merchants Building is finished, reported Atlee Oyler. Rhine’s Landscaping also planted ten trees in the park - maple, oak and elm.

The park is closed for the winter.

Utilities reports

Utilities foreman Ron Fritz secured two quotes to repair the fence at the water plant that was damaged when a motorist had a medical issue. No action was taken.

The cost for a new John Deere tractor and mower is $33,550 with $13,000 trade-in of the old tractor.

Leaf pickup will continue through Dec. 14.

Due to the age and condition of the recycling truck, Fritz secured a quote from Clinton County Disposal to take over the town’s recycling program. The quote is $30,000 per year. Tinsman said the change was not figured into the 2019 budget so it will need to wait until the 2020 budget. To help keep the truck operational, it was suggested that residential recycling pickup be every other week.

Wastewater Foreman Bill McCarty said the town has learned that a storm drain, that no one knew existed and runs under a residence in Brookview Lane, belongs to the town. The drain is broken and water is going into the crawlspace of the residence. Believing it was his responsibility, the homeowner tried to fix the problem by purchasing a sump pump and then having excavating work done to repair the drain. After he had done this it was learned the broken drain is the town’s responsibility. Ayres proposed the town reimburse the homeowner for the cost of excavating, $1,215, and half of the sump pump bill, $723.

Other business

Two building permits were issued in November: Curt Hufty for a shed and Carl Schneckloth for a sidewalk.

The side door on the west side of the Town Office Building does not shut properly. One estimate, from Haley’s Lock in Lafayette, was received. The cost will be $2,079.70 to replace the steel door and frame.

Residents are reminded to sign-up for Reach Alert, the town’s notification system. Notices are sent out through text and email. Inquire at the town office for more information.

Meeting dates for 2019 will remain the first Monday of each month except September when the meeting will be Tuesday, Sept. 3, due to the Labor Day holiday. Meetings begin at 6 p.m. in the Town Office Building.

Town employees will be off for 12 holidays in 2019.

The town office will be closed Dec. 24-25 for Christmas and Jan. 1 for New Year’s Day.

The next regular meeting will be Jan. 7.

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