News and Tribune

September 25, 2013

Sellersburg closer to overhaul of water system

Also: First step taken on 2014 budget

By BRADEN LAMMERS
braden.lammers@newsandtribune.com

SELLERSBURG — Sellersburg is getting closer to a major overhaul of its water system.

Municipal Works Director Ken Alexander presented the improvements that need to be made to Sellersburg’s water system at the Town Council meeting on Monday night.

He said the overview included the town’s plans to build a new plant — at the same location of the current Holmans Lane plant — and installation of two new water wells as well as improvements to the distribution system.

Alexander said with the improvements Sellersburg’s capacity will increase by 40 percent.

While an overview on the upgrades to improve the town’s water system were presented, a major determination in how the town moves forward will be made when Sellersburg meets with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission next month.

The IURC will offer its ruling on whether or not the town can move forward with the purchase of Riverside Water Co.

The town council agreed to purchase the water company for $2.5 million, which will add about 1,200 new customers, added water capacity and increase future bonding capacity for the Sellersburg. The purchase of the water company and anticipated additional revenue allows the town to set up a capital improvement fund for future utility repairs and improvements to its water system.

Alexander and Town Attorney Jake Elder are set to meet with IURC officials before the next town council meeting. If the approval to purchase the water company is granted, the council may move forward on seeking a bond to pay for improvements to the town’s water system.

Before the town council agreed to purchase Riverside Water Co. it had agreed to seek a $5 million bond for system improvements. While a few improvement projects have moved forward, including the painting of the town’s water towers paid for by the bond anticipation notes, the full amount has not been sought yet.

The impact on rates for customers is unknown until the total bond amount is determined by the council.



BUDGET MATTERS

In addition to the update presented for the town’s water system, two budget matters were heard by the council Monday.

One action took care of the cuts that had yet to be made to this year’s budget.

The council unanimously approved cutting $60,031 from the 2013 budget. Sellersburg Clerk-Treasurer David Kinder explained that when Indiana’s Department of Local Government Finance returned the 1782 notice it notified the town that it would have to cut several hundred thousand dollars from the budget. But a response from the town reduced the cuts to $60,000.

“We asked for the additional appropriations and they approved everything but the $60,000,” Kinder said.

Kinder added that the $60,000 was not cut earlier in the year because Sellersburg knew it had the money to continue to operate and the cuts were not necessary at that time.

The council also took its first steps to determine the 2014 budget, which is expected to be presented at its Oct. 14 meeting.