Council Action Lowers Sewer Rate Increase To 11%

An anticipated sewer treatment fee increase as a result of the pending wastewater treatment improvement project won’t be 23% as first projected. As a result of July decisions by the Crothersville Town Council, that rate should be only 11% the first year, according to Trena Carter of the grant writing firm ARa.
A definite amount will not be known until the wastewater treatment improvement project bids are opened on Aug. 25.
The anticipated fee for treating 4,000 gallons of water will increase from $34.68 to $38.51, a $3.83 cent per month increase.
There would be annual increases of 4% for the next three following years, Carter said.
The increase is a result of the wastewater treatment improvement project which is now up for bid, according to Brad Bender of FPBH, a North Vernon based engineering firm.
Bids are to be opened at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 25, at town hall.
The Project consists of a raw sewage pump station, a grit and screening system, a new clarifier, the conversion of existing tanks, rehabilitating existing oxidation ditch and clarifiers, and other miscellaneous and related items at the Wastewater Treatment Plant, along with approximately 1,475 feet of piping improvements along US 31 to remove surface water infiltration to the wastewater system.
The project, paid for in part by state and federal grants, will alleviate the combined sewer overflow problem during heavy rains and address IDEM/EPA mandates.
Three new town policies addressing installation of driveways, sidewalks & rights of way, installation of culverts and street cuts will be published in next week’s Times and the culvert and road cut policy will take effect on Aug. 24.
The driveway & sidewalk policy required some amendments after first reading, the council and town attorney said.
The culvert policy will require a $100 fee and inspection by a town representative. Culverts would be no smaller than 15 inches if made from corrugated metal or 12 inches is from concrete or plastic pipe.
Culverts will be backfilled with gravel or stone. Dirt backfill will be prohibited.
All culverts must have poured in place concrete headwalls.
The permit fee to allow for road cuts for all individuals and utilities will be $200.
The new policy lists minimal backfill materials and depth of asphalt replacement.
The town water utility may be replacing aging manual water meters with ones that can be read electronically.
According to water superintendent Chris Mains the new meters could be read throughout town in just a few hours. It takes two workers several days to get water meters read currently, he said.
“There would be no estimated bills because snow cover prevents us from getting to the meter cover,” said Mains. “The new electronic meters can read through snow.”
Mains also said frigid weather also has prevented water meter reading.
“It will all allow for more timely, less costly meter reading in addition to allowing us to notify customers almost immediately if they have a water leak,” said Main. “That would end up being a cost savings to customers who have a leaking toilet or broken water line going into their house.”
The cost of replacing all 750 5/8-inch meters in town is estimated to be $108,000 with town workers doing the change outs.
Because of costs, meters larger than 5/8-inch (primarily used by business, industry and the school would remain and be read manually
“Do we know how we are going to pay for this?” asked council president Ardell Mitchell.
“Over time the cost savings on manpower will help pay for the change over,” said Mains, noting that Crothersville is the only water utility in the area to still use manually read meters.
The council is to make a decision on the matter at a special Aug. 25 meeting.
In a final matter of business, the council continued discussing interior layout and design of the recently purchased Methodist Annex to be used as a town hall.