News and Tribune

Clark County

December 11, 2012

Decision on Sellersburg water rates stalled

Vote expected at the council’s next meeting

SELLERSBURG — An increase to the town of Sellersburg’s water rates stalled again at the town council meeting Monday night.

The town has been seeking a bond to pay for $5 million worth of improvements to the town’s water system. Among the improvements slated to take place are the drilling of two new supply wells, construction of a new booster station, a new 500,000-gallon water storage tank and to refurbish two of the town’s existing water tanks.

In order to pay for the improvements the council said the town needed to increase its water rates.

The two options being considered would raise monthly rates for town residents to $26.24, compared to $13.25 based on 5,000 gallons of water usage and the second alternative, the rate would increase by 104 percent, to $27 per 5,000 gallons of water usage.

But an ordinance that would set those rates was tabled once again at the council meeting Monday.

“We have anticipated being able to approve the ordinance on water rates, we received our copy late in the week,” said Town Council President Paul Rhodes. “We’re not satisfied with some of the wording in it, talking to our attorney, nor are we satisfied with some of the rate issues that are addressed in it.”

Questions for the council that remained unanswered related to a public fire protection surcharge.

“We’re just not satisfied that’s what we want  — that they are where we want it,” Rhodes said of the charges.

According to Indianapolis-based Umbaugh and Associates draft rate study, the hydrant charge — per equivalent meter size — in alternative one totals $5.22 per month, or in alternative two $5.37 per month.

Town Attorney Jake Elder said some of the language between the draft ordinances was inconsistent and the council did not have an opportunity to go through and review what was in the ordinance, as a copy was returned to the town on Saturday, from Indianapolis-based law firm Ice Miller.

“We’ve got a whole month now to deal with it,” Rhodes said. “Each one of us will take a look at it and ask the questions that need to be asked.”

Despite not approving the water rate ordinance, Rhodes said the rehabilitation of the town’s water towers will move forward.

“Since we’ve got the BAN (Bond Anticipation Note) opened up it’s not slowing us down,” he said.

An engineering contract with Curry and Associates was unanimously approved at the council’s previous meeting and Sellersburg Municipal Works Director Ken Alexander said he hopes to have a contract in place to complete the water tank rehabilitation by February.

It is expected that the council will vote on the water rate ordinance at its next meeting on Jan. 14.

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