By Pam Robinson
The New Harmony Town Council worked efficiently at their last regular meeting of the year, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012. Two items placed on the agenda were dispatched especially quickly: Randy Heinlin was listed to speak about the “recreational trail,” but did not answer when Town President David Campbell called upon him. Subsequently, council tabled “recreational trail phase 2,” deferring more discussion until 2013.
More pressing on Thursday were the needs of the water department. Council member Linda Warrum reported that Well #3 needs a replacement pump that will be installed three feet above flood stage. According to the requirements of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, or IDEM, Warrum said, the town needs to do the work soon. She added, however, that the well must be cleaned before the pump is replaced.
Later, during new business, council voted to move forward with the two water works improvement projects. The first project, known as phase 1, will be cleaning Well #3 at a cost of $9,000. The second project, known as phase 2, will be installing a new pump three feet above flood stage for Well #3 at a cost of $48,000.
Council agreed the electrical portion of the work could easily be finished after phases 1 and 2 are completed.
In other business:
•Council approved a transfer of lease from Bill Gillenwater for Harmony Precision Plastics to Jason Hoehn, renaming the business Harmony Warehouse. Gillenwater noted that Hoehn would use the building as a warehouse now. He added there may be production added later on, but there were no plans for such expansion of the business.
•Town President David Campbell discussed the problem with past due utilities remaining in property owners’ names. He said the Town of New Harmony needed to collect $15,000 in past due bills. He stated that some property owners consider the town their “bank,” and pay their utility bills only when a lien is placed on their property tax statements. Campbell noted also that renters will vacate property, but utilities must still be paid as long as the property remains connected to the sewer. He asked council to consider how to resolve these issues with past due utility bills in a 2013 ordinance.
•Council member Karen Walker reported that progress is being made in selecting a new operator at the wastewater treatment plant. She said there had been 12 applicants for the position—four of them, certified. The first interview had been held that day (Dec. 20). Walker hopes to make an announcement about a new hire at the January town council meeting.
•Council member Karen Walker reported that after the last three-inch rainfall, an affluent of 208,720 gallons was measured as opposed to a typical affluent of 80,000 to 100,000 gallons. She said the results mean some downspouts must be going into the sewer, and the problem needs to be corrected.
•Council member Joe Straw reported the roofing was completed at the fire station.
•Council member Karen Walker reported that no burial plots are left at Maple Hill Cemetery unless individuals who moved away from New Harmony are contacted to see if they would like to sell their pre-purchased plots. She added that there is other ground for a cemetery, but there is no road to get to it.
•Council approved sending the annual water and wastewater budgets to Rural Development as a requirement for previous town loans.
•Council approved the following resolutions: 2012-3 agrees to work toward ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance; 2012-4 approves General Fund appropriation transfers in the amount of $3,188.57; 2012-5 approves COIT (County Optional Income Tax) Fund appropriation transfers in the amount of $4,154; 2012-6 approves MVH (Motor Vehicle Highway) Fund appropriation transfers in the amount of $232.85; and 2012-7 approves Cemetery Fund appropriation transfers in the amount of $231.47.
The New Harmony Town Council will meet again in regular session Thursday, January 17, 2013, 5 p.m., at Town Hall.
By Pam Robinson
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