Funding approved for regional sewer study


The Dubois County Council approved on Monday providing $92,500 to create the plans needed for a regional sewer district.

Dubois County Commissioner Nick Hostetter urged the council to approve the funding so that plans for the district can move forward.

“This is something that we need to do,” he said. “We have a lot of properties that have failing septic systems, and they’re not on enough land to get a proper septic system installed.”

Most of the problem areas in the county are in and near the smaller towns, and are the buildings that don’t have access to sanitary sewer service, Hostetter said.

“I don’t think it’s somebody out in the middle of a 20-acre property,” he said. “It’s the guy that’s on a quarter-of-an-acre lot right next to another guy on a quarter-of-an-acre lot, and nowhere to go with the sewage.”

The money will cover the cost of two contracts for services by Clark Dietz.

One contract would be for on-call services, which would include the various meetings to gather information, discussing ideas with the nine communities in the county, compiling information and documents from different stakeholders, and holding public meetings. Those services would cost no more than $10,000, though Mary Austin, Clark Dietz’s southern Indiana and Kentucky area manager, believes the cost will be closer to $8,000.

The other contract is for Clark Dietz to complete a study that looks at the configuration of a regional district, the costs for installing one and funding options, including loans and grants. The cost for those services would be $82,500. Austin told the council that the study will take about six months to complete.

Hostetter said Clark Dietz has been working with him and a committee on the idea of a district for the last two years at no charge. “At this point, I don’t think we want to bring somebody else on,” he said.

The regional sewer district will not be a sewer treatment facility, Austin said. It will likely be a collection system, she said, with the treatment being done at already existing sewer treatment plants. Inter-local agreements would be established between the regional district and the existing plants, she said. Huntingburg and Jasper have already shown interest, Austin said.

The commissioners will consider approving the two Clark Dietz contracts at their meeting on Monday. The meeting will start at 8 a.m. in the commissioners/council room, located on the second floor of the Dubois County Courthouse Annex, 602 Main St., Jasper.

The council also:

• Adopted 2021 budgets. Those budgets and their totals are for Dubois County, $35,264,097, the Northeast Dubois County School District, $11,416,918, the Northeast Dubois County Fire Protection District, $114,500, the Dubois County Airport Authority, $5,614,602, and the Dubois County Solid Waste Management District, $311,852. State law stipulates that the council must also approve the budgets of the school district, fire district, airport authority and solid waste district because they do not have their own elected boards. All budgets will be sent to the state for final approval.

• Approved a resolution to move the $1.2 million it received in CARES funding for public safety into the county general fund, which is where those public safety costs are paid. Federal rules changed since the county was allotted $1.38 million to cover COVID-19-related costs. Federal officials decided that agencies allotted money must claim the money for public safety personnel costs before Dec. 31.The county council will have to determine how it will proceed in covering costs for other COVID-19-related projects.

• Set its year-end meeting for 10 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 29. The regular meetings for the rest of the year are set for 4:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16, and 4:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 14. All meetings are held in the commissioners/council room in the courthouse annex.

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