It began with an unfunded mandate from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management — too much phosphorous was leaching into the sewer system and something had to be done.
Following a study, Midwestern Engineering was hired to design something to fix the problem. Graves Plumbing (Switz City), was low bidder to build the plant after the council acquired land on which to erect a system of drying beds upon which the sewage would be dried for disposal.
The plant has basically been built, although a variety of weather-dependent punch list items must be completed.
Should be all good, right? Not so fast.
At the Tuesday evening (April 10) Town Council meeting, Wastewater Superintendent Roger Schaefer reported the drain line on bed five has an obstruction, as well as debris in the line leading to the leachate tank. This Thursday, Graves employees will begin replacing around 250 feet of pipe, a process that will take at least a week.
Engineer Jon Wetzel was also in attendance, as was Mark Graves from Graves Plumbing and all three men believe this will rectify the problem. But doing so will require cutting across a section of asphalt, so Wetzel suggested getting Knies Paving (Jasper) in for a confab.
And so the phosphorous saga continues for the town, making phosphorous — once touted as the miracle ingredient to get clothes clean — a dirty word.
Electric and Water Department Superintendent Steve Becher reminded council members that before he came on board a plan was in place to check all electric substations and test transformers. The company hired for the work was to take 20 oil samples but could only get three because the level was so low. To test the transformers they must be taken out of service, a detail Becher was not aware of.
He got a quote to take them out for a month — $178,000. At that point he contacted Alpha Engineering, the firm the town works with for electric advice. “The situation is pretty dire,” Becher said.
He asked (and was granted) permission to have an Alpha representative attend the next meeting to explain what needs to be done. The May meeting was rescheduled to the 15th, and if that does not work for Alpha a new date will be found or a special session set.
The council also:
•Adopted Ordinance 2018-06, reappropriating $46,000 the Park Board set aside in 2017 for use this year.
• Held a utility hearing and final adoption for Ordinance 2018-05, raising water rates by 15%. No one was present to remonstrate. The new rates will take affect with the end of May (payable by June 10) billing.
•Learned from Fire Chief John Hoppenjans that if anyone wants to see the new fire truck under construction they should visit Ferrarafire.com, scroll to truck and then scroll to production where the cab on the frame of the new truck is on display and work is ahead of schedule.
•Learned from Chief Lloyd Froman the Christkindlmarkt committee donated $400 to the Police Department and he wants to use the money, plus $95 from training funds, to send Sgt. Eric Hopkins to Princeton for School Officer Resource Training. Permission granted.
•Also from Froman, of the 11 potential reserves, two made it through the process and will now go through psych evaluations and drug testing. The two are Troy Leinenbach and Eric Evitts. And, that the department will hold pre-basic training starting May 14 for two Ferdinand officers and some from neighboring departments.
•Heard departmental reports from all supervisors and learned a multitude of projects are progressing as weather allows.
•From Town Manger Chris James, heard 10 participants have begun the 2018 Leadership Academy, the Ferdinand Folk Fest line-up has been set and two summer and rec leaders have been hired, Kendra Schipp who will come on board May 21 as Rec Director and Taylor Bayer, starting May 29 as Community Program Assistant. Both will earn $9.25 per hour.
•And from Park Board President Matt Weyer, that MasterBrand employees will plant 10 replacement trees in 18th Street Park on April 20, five paid for by the Park Board and five by MasterBrand. Also that Kinetic Recoating (Mooresville) will resurface the playground areas in Fifth Street Park, putting two areas out of service and when those are complete, the third. The work should be completed by mid-June prior to tournament action.
•Learned June 18 is the start date to replace the concrete surface on West 23rd Street. Street Superintendent Tom Lueken will coordinate the street closing with Fire Chief John Hoppenjans because of the location of Fire Station 2.
•Gave approval for low bidder Thomas Glass and More (Tell City) to replace doors in the Senior Citizens Center and dispose of the old doors for $11,210.
•Granted a residential demolition permit to the Waningers to remove an uninhabitable structure at 710 Main Street, adjacent to their home at 720 Main. The couple had followed instructions to the letter, hiring Elite Environmental to remove all asbestos, providing a $25,000 performance bond, submitting the permit and proper insurance riders and more. They plan to start demolition in two weeks and complete the job within 45 days.
•Approved Lueken’s ADA Transition Plan. “Every year I’m amazed,” Councilwoman Debbie Johnson told Lueken. “You’re knocking these projects out like crazy.”
•Heard work is progressing on utilities for the new nursing home.
•Approved two tax abatements, one for personal property and the second for personal and real property, for MasterBrand as the cabinet giant exceeded requirements.
•Gave approval for a special $5,661 claim to pay for the I-64 Ferdinand sign through the end of 2018.
•Agreed to work out the details for a cadet firefighter program at the May 15 meeting.
•Announced the Board of Zoning Appeals and Plan Commission will meet April 25 at 6:30 and 7 p.m., respectively, the Economic Development Commission will meet on May 8 at 6 p.m. and the Park Board will gather on Wednesday, May 2 at 4:30 p.m., all at Town Hall.