City considers raising cost for water connections


HUNTINGBURG — The fee charged to tap into the Huntingburg water system does not cover the cost for installing the tap.

Because of that, Water Superintendent Gary Meyerholtz suggested that the fees be increased.

“The cost has gone through roof,” he told the Huntingburg Common Council Monday night. “We are losing a lot of money when we install them.”

For a 3/4-inch tap, which is the typical residential tap, the fee to the customer is $750. But the cost to install it is $1,135.46, he said. This includes the cost of pipe, valves, flowable fill, gaskets and other equipment. And that does not include the cost of labor, he said.

Meyerholtz suggested that the fee be increased to $1,500, which would be double the current cost.

For a 1-inch, the cost for installation is $1,466.82. The fee the customer pays is $900. Meyerholtz suggested doubling that, to $1,800.

For a 1.5-inch tap, the installation cost is $4,541.25. The customer fee is $1,100; he suggested increasing that to $5,000. Installing a 2-inch tap, costs $5,104.90; but the customer pays $1,250 for the fee. He suggested increasing that to $6,000.

Meyerholtz said that the utility might be able to eat the cost for residential taps. But he is more concerned about the difference in the fee and actual cost for installing the bigger taps.

The council told Meyerholtz to get comparisons of costs other utilities charge for their tap-in fee. He said that he checked the City of Jasper’s process, though he didn’t ask about the cost. Jasper has a tap fee and an outside contractor installs the tap and line to the main line.

In Huntingburg, water utility workers do the installation.

“It’s always the feeling that Huntingburg people mess with Huntingburg mains, and I agree,” he said. “That way you control the quality.”

The councilmen said they will review the information, which will be discussed at a later meeting. City Attorney Phil Schneider explained the process the council must go through to raise the fee; the process must include a hearing to get public comment, he said.

The council also:

• Adopted an ordinance stating that no parking is allowed on either side of Clay Street between Ninth and Church streets. The approval comes at the request of emergency personnel, who said it’s difficult to turn onto that block of Clay when cars are parked on the street.

• Held a public hearing for the city’s proposed 2019 budget. No one commented. The council will consider final approval of the budget at its Oct. 9 meeting.

• Apologized to Allen and Pam Fritz, who have a property on Chestnut Street where road work is taking place. The Fritzes said they were not told of the upcoming construction and just recently put their house on the market, which means people will be coming to look at the house. Street Superintendent Jason Stamm, who also apologized to the couple, assured them that they will still have access to the property. He also said that an agreement has been worked out to make sure the property’s driveway is put back in the condition it was before construction started. The Fritzes will be able to choose their own contractor to install the driveway and the city will pay the bill, Stamm said.

• Listened as Councilman Glen Kissling asked the public to avoid using County Road 400W near Farbest as much as possible on Oct. 6. A training session with county emergency crews will be taking place there and a lot of traffic and equipment will be there, said Kissling, who is also a firefighter.

• Reminded the public the Herbstfest festival will be held this weekend at Huntingburg City Park.

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