City to begin $8M in water improvements


HUNTINGBURG — Huntingburg’s utility superintendents reflected on their departments’ work in 2019, and also told the Huntingburg Common Council Monday afternoon what projects will be coming with the new year.

The gas department installed 67 new services in 2019, Energy Superintendent John Reutepohler said. While most of those were residential, services were installed for the new Comfort Inn hotel on the south side of Jasper, the Legacy Living senior home along State Road 56 and the new St. Mary Church in Ireland.

Capital expenses Reutepohler anticipates coming in 2020 include installing mains and valves for Hunters Crossing 3 and replacing 22 grease valves with ball valves; grease valves are not in compliance anymore, he said. The total for those projects is estimated at $19,000, he said.

Reutepohler does not expect the wholesale cost of gas to increase. “Since July, we’re trending a seven-year low on natural gas costs,” he said. “I look for that to continue — that low trend — barring a major cold spell.”

The electric utility installed 51 new services in 2019, most of them at Hunters Crossing, Reutepohler said.

He estimated that 2020 capital projects in electric will cost about $217,000. Those include doing some underground conversion work along Sunrise Drive; putting electrical lines underground along Oakwood and Ridgewood drives; installing transformers, conduits and underground wiring for Hunters Crossing 3; purchasing a new SCADA system; and replacing about 50 poles along County Road 200 West.

He expects the wholesale electric cost will increase by 1%, “which is very minimal.” The cost has decreased the past three years, he said.

Water demand continues to be high, Water Superintendent Gary Meyerholtz told the council. In December alone, the highest water production day resulted in the plant producing 1,127,690 gallons of water in a 24-hour period. The highest demand for water in a 24-hour period was 1,870,300 gallons, Meyerholtz said.

“It’s just a lot of people needing a lot of water,” he said.

The water department will soon embark on $8 million in improvements to the water plant and the main along U.S. 231. The final contracts with the bid winners will soon be negotiated, and those contracts will be brought before the council, Mayor Denny Spinner said.

Year three of the five-year meter conversion program is complete. All the old meters are being replaced with new digitized meters. So far, the accuracy of the meters has been 99%, Meyerholtz said.

The council also:

• Thanked Councilman Kerry Blessinger for his service on the council. Blessinger chose not to run for another term, and will be replaced by Jose Dubon. Spinner said he plans to appoint Blessinger to the Huntingburg Board of Public Works and Safety.

• Approved a $16,500 contract with Indiana Municipal Power Agency for services to develop bid specifications and oversee the purchase and installation of a new SCADA system for the electric department.

• Approved a $1,928 contract with Keller Schroeder & Associates of Evansville to provide online cyber security awareness training for city employees. The services will include videos, notices and random email clickbait testing. There are about 80 email addresses in the city’s system.

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