Ferdinand Town Council: Big Foot is dead and several other projects face difficulties

Bigfoot is dead.

The 27-year-old monster truck hauled its last load of sludge before its untimely demise.

Unfortunately, according to Ferdinand Wastewater Superintendent Roger Schaefer, he needs to dispose of another 150,000 gallons to be able to limp along until autumn, at which time the new phosphorous/waste disposal system should be up and running and a new truck purchased.

He reported the truck’s demise at the Town Council’s Tuesday night meeting and said he has been trying to find another vehicle to lease for the remainder.

No such luck.

The other option is to belt press the sludge and haul it to a land fill.

“I see no reason to repair the truck,” said Council President Ken Sicard when all the details were presented.

After enough of the sludge has been disposed of, Schaefer will use another method of compaction until the new plant is built.

Which was another problem as Graves Plumbing, the company hired for the work has not been present as promised and is about two weeks behind schedule.

A meeting with Rural Development for updates was scheduled for Wednesday (April 19) and Schaefer hopes the company gets back on track to meet IDEM-imposed deadlines.

Schaefer asked for and received permission to replace a wood floor in the headworks building that is rotting due to flooding, with a concrete slab floor. He will then move the massive amount of records he must keep for IDEM and the EPA into storage atop the concrete floor.

He also asked to purchase a Belt Clip Receiver to be used to determine leaks on the customers side, the cost to be split 50/50 with the water department, for $2,500.

More bad news came from Park Board President Mile Steffe. A survey was completed on the Old Lake property in preparation for building a grant-funded walking trail around the lake, adding a restroom and dock, essentially creating a new recreation area. However, the survey showed that the existing property line is skewed, zigging in at some spots into the lake. Without acquiring 2.9 acres, or at minimum 2.1 acres from the Sisters of St. Benedict, either through purchase or a land swap, the trail cannot encircle the lake, the restrooms cannot be built, nor the parking expanded.

The sisters will vote on the proposal in June, and meanwhile an archaeological reconnaissance must be completed and other steps in preparation for the trail, with no assurances the sisters will agree.

Attorney Bill Shaneyfelt posited the idea of a long term lease as an option should the sisters be unwilling to sell.

Meanwhile, the Park Board will continue with the established time line to have all their ducks in a row in the event the sisters agree to the sale.

More bad news — long time Utility Superintendent Henry Haake tendered his resignation effective April 20.

Sicard, who was out of the country for business in recent weeks, said, “I wasn’t expecting this to happen but we must move forward.”

Council members agreed to advertise for a new Utility Superintendent.

“I thank Henry for his service and wish him well,” said Councilman Ron Weyer, to which the others agreed.

Schaefer will assist with the water department until a new superintendent is hired and the two remaining department staff members wall take charge of electricity.

Street and Property Superintendent Tom Lueken is hoping for some help in the form of 2017 Community Crossing funds to help repair or replace 23rd Street, the town’s lone concrete roadway.

“It’s going to need attention, no ifs, ands or buts,” Lueken noted.

He said this would be costly — the most major project is his department’s five year asset management plan. Whether the street is repaired or replaced this year or in five years, engineering is needed to determine the best option.

Council members voted to hire Universal Design to investigate existing conditions of the surface, handle field work needed for preliminary design, prepare a lab engineering analysis and do core drilling and sampling, the latter of which will be handled by Alt and Witzig Engineering.

The total approved project cost came to $23,000 — $18,000 for Universal Design and $5,000 for Alt and Witzig.

Lueken also said his department just completed the most massive Spring Clean up in the town’s history. For the Fall Clean up he has decided to devote three full days instead of two and will start on Northview Drive and the north side subdivisions.

The details will be published closer to the actual date.

Town Manager Chris James has met with Alan Meunier from Quality Craft Construction on the Missouri Street water line project and work should commence in the next two weeks.

Fire Chief Dan Lindauer and Assistant Chief Luke Fleck were in attendance to discuss the purchase of a new pumper truck to replace one as old as Big Foot.

The department has applied for a grant but word has not been received on whether the grant will be funded. After much discussion it was agreed to go ahead and get approval for the specs from Shaneyfelt to replace the pumper truck.

If approval comes after the truck is ordered a second, identical pumper can be ordered to replace a 24-year-old pumper. Shaneyfelt will include options in the bid documents for a cash price and/or financing and if the cash price is more desirable, the fire department can seek a loan from the electric department.

Sicard announced the mural of Ferdinand the Bull is complete on the side of 1440 Main.

After verification that appropriate papers have been submitted to the Dubois County Community Foundation for the grant, Clerk-Treasurer Bev Schulthise was directed to close out that project.

James presented the route for the Ferdinand Elementary 5-K, which was approved. The event will be held May 12 and registration is ongoing. Late registration can be made up to 6 p.m. on May 12 (race day), with a start time of 6:30 p.m.

The council also approved attendance for various town employees to different seminars and special trainings appropriate to their fields.

The next Ferdinand Town Council meeting is set for Tuesday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m. with the Economic Development meeting the same night at 6 p.m.

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