Meeting: Birdseye Town Council

The Birdseye Town Council met Thursday and:

• Approved raising water rates 23 percent and sewer rates 15 percent to absorb increases by the Patoka Lake Regional Water and Sewer District and St. Anthony Water Corp. while also providing operating funds for maintenance and repair. A minimum-usage water customer consuming 2,000 gallons or less per month who pays, before tax, $14.86 now will pay $18.28 beginning with April bills. The bare minimum sewer charge of $15.30 will rise to $17.60.

• Learned, because of stipulations in state code, Town Council President Bret Eckert will no longer be able to serve as a voting member of the park board, although he can still help out as a non-voting, advisory member.

• Eckert and fellow new council members Mary Ann Cummings and Roy Partenheimer peppered Town Attorney Art Nordhoff with procedural questions ranging from conflict-of-interest statements (Partenheimer, a member of the fire department, will have to declare a conflict and not vote on business involving the fire department) to annexation (the council may mull the advantages and disadvantages of annexing south of town along State Road 145 at a future meeting). Cummings thanked Nordhoff for attending and tackling the wide-ranging slate of questions. “We’re three new people so it’s nice to reset,” Cummings told Nordhoff.

• Approved Jason “Pork” Zehr as a new park board member at the recommendation of board President Janet Partenheimer and member Archie McCutcheon. With the recent resignation of Lisa Huff as a member, Partenheimer said the board will have to nominate and bring before the council one more member to have all four voting seats filled.

• Welcomed Dubois County Emergency Management Agency Director Tammy Humbert to the meeting. After a presentation by Humbert, council members adopted a resolution to join the Dubois County Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan sponsored by the county EMA.

• Approved sending a letter to sewer system customers noting that past smoke testing confirmed some downspouts and sump pumps are illegally connected to sanitary sewers. The town will begin contacting customers with illegal connections and the letter will ask those with illegal connections to go ahead and call a plumber to rectify the issue. Utility Superintendent Bob Morrow said, during large rains, the added rainwater from downspouts causes lift station pumps to work overtime to keep up with flows. The letter will state: “These incorrect and illegal connections can cause sewage to back up into your basement or overflow into our rivers and streams.”

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