Churches Confess Sewer Transgressions

The Crothersville Town Council resolved an illegal sewer connection during last week’s monthly meeting involving two churches which connected to town sewer services without an inspection or fees. Last month the council learned that First Baptist Church and Crothersville Church of the Lord Jesus Christ failed to have the town inspect lateral connections and didn’t pay connection fees before using sewer services.
Crothersville Church of the Lord Jesus Christ had a water and sewer bill after connecting to the sewer from an existing lateral from a home which was razed.
When notified on the oversight, the church dug up its connection for town inspection and paid the minimum monthly base rate of $10.10 for 2009 and $10.40 for 2010.
However, the First Baptist Church was reluctant to come into compliance.
First Baptist had torn down a home on Main Street and to keep from paying a monthly sewer minimum and trash collection fee, capped off the sewer lateral. However, later in October, after the church’s food pantry and used clothing store was being built, the sewer line was re-opened for use by the new construction without the town’s knowledge.
It wasn’t until the church asked for water to be turned on last month that the town realized that the sewer had been re-connected without inspection.
First Baptist Church representatives Vaughn Isenhower and Gary Bobb Allen spoke to the council about reducing the number of past months the church would have to pay, citing it is using profits from the used clothing store to help finance the church’s food pantry.
“If we have to pay the re-connect fee and past sewer, there will be less money for the food pantry which provides food for the needy of the community,” said Isenhower.
However, the council did not budge from its insistence that the town be allowed to inspect the connection and the church pay the tap fee along with back monthly sewer charges.
“You called the town hall telling us that you disconnected and sealed the sewer lateral so you would not have to pay sewer and trash pick-up fees,” said council president Ardell Mitchell. “The you re-connected in October last year and did not notify the town.”
“The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ complied with our request,” said Mitchell. “To forgive your fees would not be fair to them nor the rest of the town rate payers.”
First Baptist was told it had to dig to expose the sewer connection for inspection to prevent the town from future liability as a result of a faulty connection.
In other business:
•The policy of removing town sidewalks to build driveways was also clarified. Town ordinances state that if a person destroys a sidewalk when putting in a driveway, they must repair it and have the proper slope. “If it breaks up due to vehicular traffic,” Mitchell said, “they have to replace that.” The matter was prompted also by First Baptist Church for removing and not replacing a sidewalk at their new used clothing store & food pantry. “If you are far enough along to open for business, you should be far enough along to replace the sidewalk,” Mitchell told Isenhower and Allen.
•A first reading of the town’s credit card ordinance was also approved, which deals with city employees’ handling of the cards. The town also discussed eliminating business specific credit cards to be replaced with a general credit card obtained from the local Peoples Bank. The switch will allow for the cards’ use anywhere in the county, also allowing the town to spread the money evenly among local businesses.
•Insurance agent Roxanne Bixler updated council members about the town’s property & casualty policies that are up for renewal. Council approved the insurance effective July 28 in the amount of $39,144.
•Local resident Arnold Fletcher expressed his concern that the town is not doing enough to keep streets and gutters clean. “There’s more than mowing to make a town look good,” Fletcher said.