By JANIE SOUTHARD
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
Another unanimous vote at the meeting calls for the alleyway
between Link and Center streets to be grassed over and the present
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
“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
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