Minutes 8/13/2020

Meeting Minutes – August 13, 2020


The Churubusco Town Council met on August 13, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. in the Scout Building for a special meeting. Members present were Council Members Mark Pepple and Nathan Van Horn; and Clerk-Treasurer, Madalyn Sade-Bartl. Also in attendance were Matt Shipman and Todd Nichols, Whitley County Regional Sewer District; Ken Jones and Alli Vodde, JPR Engineering; Town Attorney, Ron Felger; and Wastewater Superintendent, Bob Gray.


Council President, Nathan Van Horn, called the meeting to order. He stated the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the thoughts and direction of the interlocal agreement presented to the Town by the RSD. Mr. Shipman and Mr. Jones explained the service area and the findings of the RSD’s preliminary report and SRF application. Mr. Shipman stated he thought there may be a way to incentivize the Town and Mr. Jones explained how that amount would be calculated. There was also a conversation about buying capacity within the plant along with charging a raw treatment rate. The capacity charge and other incentives would likely be paid up front as those costs could be figured into the amount of a grant or a loan.


Mr. Shipman addressed Mr. Gray’s desires to make the system a gravity system, and the RSD’s plans had changed from grinders to a gravity system after speaking to Mr. Gray and Ms. Bartl. Shipman expressed this would mean an increased construction cost, but lower maintenance costs in the long run.


Mr. Pepple asked what the projected timeframe of the project would be if a deal was signed right now. Mr. Jones stated they could proceed after the design work was completed and an agreement was signed. Ms. Vodde was anticipating for construction to occur in 2021. Mr. Shipman stated that this project was ranked 4th among 30-40 projects, so SRF was interested in getting this project done.


Mr. Shipman addressed another concern the Town had concerning annexation agreements. He stated those would be something the RSD would be willing to help in collecting. While the RSD could not guarantee 100% collection, it could be written into the contract a percentage threshold as they did in Columbia City’s agreement, but warned the Council the RSD could assist in getting them signed, but could not force the issue.


Mr. Pepple stated he was 100% in favor of this project being done, but he had two goals. His first was he did not want a burden to be placed on the citizens of Churubusco. He felt past Councils had already entered into a contract with another district that has placed an undue burden upon Town residents. His other goal was not to put the Town and the wastewater plant into a spot as far as capacity was concerned where we will need to further increase in a couple years. One issue we have with capacity, Pepple explained, was infiltration from the Rapp Ditch which is a county issue. Mr. Shipman replied that he had spoken with Brandon Forester concerning the ditch’s issues, and Brandon was supposed to give Mr. Gray a call. Shipman explained that drainage boards do not gather money very quickly and the money that is collected can only be spent on the drain the money has been collected on. However, Shipman also let the drainage board know they were in the way of getting this RSD project done due to the issues with the ditch.


Ms. Bartl had a few questions that had been addressed in previous meetings, one being changing the RSD map. It had been discussed that current customers would remain the Town’s customers, which was added in section III-B. However, the district impact area was not addressed. Because the Town had extended service to Dollar General along US 33 and had plans for further extension to the county line, the Town wanted to make sure that would remain the Town’s service area. The RSD’s service area extended to Commerce Drive and the Town wanted it to stop at 375 N. Mr. Shipman stated he had forgotten about that conversation and that was something they could write into the contract.


President Van Horn stated he understood people needed this, but also wanted to do what was best for the town. He stated he was not opposed to entering into an agreement but wanted to make sure it was going to work for us. Mr. Shipman stated he understood and asked Mr. Jones how long they could keep SRF at bay. Mr. Jones stated they needed to get this done as soon as possible but could stretch it out another couple of weeks. He asked Ms. Bartl who the Town was using as a rate consultant and she stated they would probably be using Baker Tilley for their bond. He asked Council if he could speak to them concerning this project. They agreed that would be alright. The RSD and Council scheduled a follow up meeting for September 10, 2020.


Having no other business, President Van Horn adjourned the meeting.





Council Member, Mark Pepple



Council Member, Bruce Johnson




Council President, Nathan Van Horn





Madalyn Sade-Bartl, Clerk-Treasurer


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