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The Daily



09-03-03: Sewer project moves forward


CHICKASAW — Done deal. Council members on Tuesday voted unanimously to proceed with the $2.2 million sanitary sewer project in Chickasaw.
The project provides sewer service for the entire village and will be paid for by the village, its residents and a $600,000 Community Development Block Grant awarded last week.
But the vote to proceed was not without lengthy discussion harking back to an April meeting topic of who should pay and who shouldn’t.
“I still think (owners of vacant property within the village) are getting a free ride and costing the rest of the town more money,” said councilman John Arling.
Bottom line in council’s April vote (3-2, with Robert Schwieterman and Arling voting no) states owners of open lots will not be charged the monthly fee for debt retirement on the cost of the project.
Monthly fees are estimated in the $49 to $53 range per month for the 20-year debt term. Those fees also include $20 per month operating and maintenance fee.
Since vacant property owners will not be paying on debt retirement or monthly operating and maintenance fees, the burden does indeed fall on other shoulders and Arling obviously still finds this a stumbling block. However, he did vote Tuesday night to proceed with the project.
Councilors also resolved to send a letter to all owners of vacant lots pointing out advantages of tapping into the sewer system now rather than opting out, which boils down to money.
There is no fee for tap-in to those who participate at the beginning of the project.
“If they wait until later, it will cost them anywhere from $500 to $1,000, possibly up to $1,500. All fees for the first 13 feet of line to the system are free to you if you participate in the debt retirement,” Craig Mescher of Fanning/Howey Associates of Celina said.
Several owners of open lots have told various council members that they have no intention of ever improving their lots, which are adjacent to their primary residences. Thus, there’s no reason to have or pay for an additional sewer tap-in, they said.
Another unanimous vote at the meeting calls for the alleyway between Link and Center streets to be grassed over and the present pavement removed.
The present alley serves only a few residents and does not adequately compensate the village in view of saving $20,000 in costs to backfill the alley during the sewer system project.
Residents Alan Mescher and Jerome Schwieterman have indicated they are interested in serving on the village’s Board of Public Affairs, which oversees all public utilities. Another member is still needed.
Councilman Robert Schwiet- erman said he asked at least 25 different residents to serve and no one was interested.
“I mentioned members could be paid $30 per meeting and finally found at least two who’ll serve,” Robert Schwieterman said, as he asked council to pass the BPA compensation motion and they agreed.
Mayor Virgil Puthoff also informed council that he wants members to determine at the October meeting an amount for raises in village administration salaries.
Puthoff said he has devoted a lot of time serving on county committees and serving the village in general during his term as mayor.
“The sewer project is also going to take a lot of time over the next year for the mayor,” Puthoff said.
The mayor and council members currently receive $30 per meeting each.
Puthoff also said he’s disappointed in the new flags the village purchased this summer at a cost of $2,600. Stitching on many flags has given way and the red and white stripes are no longer attached.
Village resident Sis Puthoff, who has repaired flags in the past, has volunteered to repair the damaged flags charging only for materials such as thread.
Mercer County Board of Elections staff will host a mock election in the village hall on Sept. 9 from 2 to 6 p.m. “This will give our residents a chance to learn about the new electronic voting machines and actually get to use them,” Mayor Puthoff said.


Phone: (419)586-2371,   Fax: (419)586-6271
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