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City will have hearing on new rates

By DARRELL SMITH - dsmith@newsexaminer.com

Connersville City Council will have a public hearing before finalizing rate increases for water and sewage. 

Connersville Utilities has proposed making needed improvements at the wastewater treatment plant that include switching from anaerobic digestion of waste to aerobic digestion.

The proposed rate increases for water and sewage would be $10.70 a month, implemented in phases over a three-year period, according to Mike Bottomley, utilities supervisor, who spoke at Monday’s City Council meeting. Residential customers outside of city limits would pay an added $14.14 monthly because of a fire protection fee and surcharges.

The Board of Public Works and Safety received bids Oct. 15. The lowest bid for the work is higher than the estimated construction cost. The final cost, including non-construction costs included, is an estimated $5.2 million, well over the $4 million bond amount previously approved by the Council.

The increases would come on Jan. 1 of 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Public hearings will be conducted on the rate increases at the Nov. 19 council meeting, David Butsch, city attorney, said. 

Used fire truck

The Connersville Fire Department will buy a used fire truck to replace one of two aging trucks.

Fire Chief Troy Tipton and Battalion Chief Chris Gettinger inspected a truck in Alabama.

“The truck is what we thought it would be, really clean,” Tipton said. “There are couple things they will have to fix.”

The cost negotiated for the truck will allow for purchase of equipment such as hoses and air packs without asking for more money, he said.

Tipton has said two engines must be replaced because they are approaching the 25-year limit for being front-line trucks. They can be used as reserve trucks.

The council approved an $140,000 appropriation for the truck.

Sidewalk grant

Council approved applying for money from Indiana Department of Transportation for new sidewalks from 5th to 9th street along Central Avenue.

The cost estimate for the project is $1 million to $1.2 million, Diana Wright, grant admininstrator, said. The city would match that with $200,000 to $250,000 in local funds. Engineering would begin in 2020. 

The city has been awarded an INDOT grant for sidewalks from 3rd to 5th streets on Central Avenue for construction in 2022. 

“In the past we’ve made commitments to downtown and I think we should continue to make commitments to downtown, assuming that money is there,”  David Nutty, a Council member, said.