Crothersville Begins Expanding Southern Town Boundaries

In an expected move, the Crothersville Town Council approved at their Nov. 12 meeting an ordinance to begin the process of annexing about 28 acres along US 31 south of town. With councilmen Lenvel Robinson and Bob Little absent, the council approved the annexation ordinance by a 3-0 vote.
Properties owned by CC Murphy LLC of Floyds Knobs and Hubbard and Marjorie Hougland of Muncie have been requested by the owners to be annexed into the town limits.
The annexation will extend the southern borders of the town to property owned by Jackson County Land Company LLC (Sims Bark) on the east side of US 31 and an 11 acre property on the west side of US 31 from Industrial Way to I-65.
After annexation the town has three years to provide town utilities. Water is already provided in the area as is police protection by the town and fire protection by the Vernon Township Fire District.
The town opened bids for providing sewer connections under Industrial Way and US 31 at their Tuesday meeting.
According to Brad Bender, town engineer with FPBH, an 8” sewer line inside a 16” casing will be installed. Sims Bark agreed to pay $15,000 toward the project.
King’s Trucking & Excavating of Seymour was the low bidder to bore under US 31 and install the sewer from the lift station to the Sims Bark property for $76,425. The company bid $38,790 to bore under Industrial Way from the lift station to the south.
Other bids entered included Dave O’Mara Contractors of North Vernon $78,700 & $42,680 and Mitchell & Stark of Medora $99,700 & $38,600.
Annexation of the approximately 60 acres of the Sims Bark property along with other property on the west side of US 31 area served by town services will be considered by the new town council after the first of the year.
In another matter, the council heard a complaint from landlord Grover Stacy of Scott County because the town placed a $2,300 lien on his property for a tenant’s unpaid utility bills.
“I came in to the town office and told them to turn off the water and lock the meter,” Stacy said.
“But the (utility service) was not in your name. It was in your tenant’s name,” said council president Danieta Foster. “We can’t shut of service because it wasn’t in your name.”
“If you would have shut it off he (the tenant) wouldn’t have run up such a big bill,” said Stacy. “You ought to go after the tenant not me.”
“We lien the property owner. They are ultimately responsible for their tenant’s unpaid utility bills,” said clerk-treasurer Terry Richey.
“You could have put the town’s utility bill in your name then collected from your tenant. That way, if the tenant didn’t pay you, you could have had the meters shut off,” said Foster.
“The tenant is a 100% dud,” Stacy said.
“You trusted your tenant to pay his utility bills,” said Foster. “You can’t shut off utilities that are not in your name.”
Stacy, who has had two Jackson County properties and three in Scott County sell at delinquent property tax sales last month, was asked by the council president about an abandoned and dilapidated house that he owns at 208 E. Dixon Street.
“I’m going to get on that,” he told the council.
“If hope you get on it before it goes before the town safety board,” responded Foster.
She later explained that several years ago a contract seller wanted a buyer out of his property because they were behind in their monthly payments to him. He told the town to shut off the utilities. The town did and the contract buyer sued the town in Federal court and won. The matter cost the town several thousand dollars and resulted in the strict policy that only utility customers can have the utility shut off, not landlords or others.
In a final matter, the application period for the next round of state Community Crossroads Paving Grant is Jan. 3-31. Street superintendent Mike Deaton and council President Danieta Foster agreed to serve on a committee to develop a list of streets that need re-surfacing and to determine what the local match for the grant application can be.