Meeting: Birdseye Town Council

The Birdseye Town Council met Thursday and:

• Swore in Democrat Kelly Zehr to replace Roy Partenheimer on the town council. Partenheimer, who was elected in 2018 along with Democrat Mary Ann Cummings and Republican Bret Eckert, resigned last month. A full story is on Page 3.

• Began planning a sewer rate hike after Utility Superintendent Bob Morrow said, with the current rate structure, the utility would post a loss between $6,000 and $8,000 this year. “At the rate we’re going now,” he said, “we can’t continue to run.” Eckert’s motion to hike the base sewer rate of $17.60 to $20 and increase the treatment rate per 1,000 gallons from $3.40 to $4 was approved by Cummings and Zehr after it was noted those charges are still lower than those in surrounding communities. The council instructed Clerk-Treasurer Brittany Schepers to have a new rate ordinance prepared for publication and a public hearing, with the idea the new charges could be in place by July or August. The new rates would generate an additional $8,500 annually for the utility, which has been ordered by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to address its inflow and infiltration problems.

• Announced the town will begin conducting hydrant flushing at the end of next week. The process should take most of the month, Morrow said. Flushing is a necessary preventative maintenance activity. Water will remain safe to drink; however, special care and attention is recommended, especially before doing laundry. Customers are advised to run cold water through their taps for 5 to 7 minutes to clear any discoloration in the water that may adversely affect laundry items.

• Heard resident Joel Schwartz is interested in applying for the water system and wastewater system operator apprenticeship programs Birdseye is getting through the Alliance of Indiana Rural Water. It now looks like the applicant Birdseye hires to be in the program will start training in January."

• Approved a resolution transferring ownership of the rental house near the Birdseye park back to the park board.

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