By Janie Southard
Chickasaw village council members gave the official nod Tuesday night to begin the $2 million sanitary sewer project as Mayor Virgil Puthoff signed agreements with contractors, commencement orders and the first draw of loan money.
There is only one hitch: some elements of the construction schedule have been pushed back.
Construction of the collection system, originally estimated to begin in July, is now set to get underway on Aug. 31, which will leave residents digging tie-ins January through March 2005.
“Hooking up in the dead of winter when the ground is frozen won’t be great. I hope we won’t start codeging people for systems they don’t have because they can’t get the work done because of weather,” Councilman Robert Schwieterman commented.
Project Manager Jason Winner, of Fanning/Howey Associates in Celina, suggested that residents could begin paying the debt retirement portion of the monthly fee (about $30) in March, but hold off on the $20 maintenance and operation portion until they have a working system.
“I would think so,” Schwieterman said. “You shouldn’t be codeged for something you don’t have.”
The new sewer system includes a sewer treatment plant located just outside of the village with sewer lines running to each home. Residents will no longer use private septic tanks, which the environmental protection agency has partially blamed for poor water quality in the area.
The new construction schedule calls for a preconstruction meeting Tuesday, and beginning the treatment plant construction on May 3, which is estimated to take 40 days.
The schedule shows “substantial completion” by Dec. 1 and “final completion” on Jan. 5, 2005.
Winner clarified a comment made at the March 14 public meeting concerning dirt backfill for septic tanks, which will become obsolete when the sewer project is completed. “The area should be filled with stone and not dirt. (Residents) could use dirt to top off so they can plant grass,” he said.
Beyond the sewer project, council members are looking at more grant money possibilities for various projects through the office of independent consultant Ron Puthoff, who is retained by the village.
Puthoff informed council it’s “pretty sure” the village is in line for $90,000 of Public Works money. “(Mercer County Engineer) Jim Wiecodet has been looking at who all benefited over the past 18 years from this money and discovered Chickasaw is under the average,” Puthoff said, adding $90,000 would bring the village up to par.
Ron Puthoff also will look into the village’s qualifications for other grant money from various sources.
Responding to residents’ complaints following the recent Young Farmers’ annual sale at the community park, Schwieterman said he’ll talk with the group urging them to find another venue for this event.
Complaints centered around unsafe parking on village streets as well as damage to residents’ lawns.
Village streets will be swept on April 17 and storm sewers will be cleaned sometime in May, councilors reported.