Meeting: Huntingburg Council

The Huntingburg Common Council/Utility Board met Tuesday and:

Ӣ Heard an update from Phil Ahrens, chairman of the tree committee, regarding the trees on Fourth Street. Ahrens approached the council earlier this month with a solution to reduce the amount of fruit dropping off the trees while still being able to enjoy the blossoms. He suggested spraying a naturally occurring compound called Naphthaleneacetic acid at the proper time. Ahrens came back with a quote for $297.50 from Buschkoetters Nursery Lawn & Garden Center Inc. in Jasper. The council approved the request and will notify the public when spraying is to take place.

Ӣ Heard a Stellar Communities update from Mayor Denny Spinner, who said they remain pleased about their designation as a finalist. City officials will attend a workshop in Indianapolis on April 11 to discuss the process going forward. They will then receive funding to expand their application and develop a financial plan for each of the proposed projects. Spinner said he will provide regular Stellar updates at future meetings.

”¢ Proclaimed April the “Month of the Military Child.” The nationwide initiative shows support for children of service members. Spinner also proclaimed April 15 “Purple Up Day” when citizens are encouraged to wear purple to show their support.

Ӣ Heard a monthly report from Energy Superintendent John Reutepohler, who said residents will see high gas bills again this month, but gas prices have finally leveled off. The city saved around $50,000 switching back and forth between Texas Eastern and Midwest Natural Gas during March.

”¢ Approved a Street Sign Project Agreement with the Indiana Department of Transportation for the project to bring the city’s street signs in compliance with state standards. The city received a $90,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration and will match $10,000 from the Cumulative Capital Development Fund, already approved. The funds will not become available until July 2016. The street department will continue work updating signs in the meantime.

Ӣ Approved a quote for a Scag diesel mower from All Seasons Lawn Equipment in Dale for $11,600. The city will use their own part-time employee to maintain the grass on public properties.

”¢ Heard an update from Reutepohler on the gas garage renovation that will house the Dubois County Emergency Medical Services. Reutepohler said he has discussed plans with engineers from RQAW Consulting Engineers and Architects, trying to find ways to save some money. He said there should be an updated estimate of construction at next month’s meeting, at which point the bid packet will be prepared to be sent out. If approved in a timely manner, construction could begin by June and be ready for operations by Oct. 1.

Ӣ Approved a leak adjustment policy for citizens experiencing a high water bill because of a leak in equipment not readily serviceable, such as underground pipes that would require excavation. Under the new policy, a user must experience a 200 percent increase over the average of their usage. Water Superintendent Todd Williams will inspect the leak and then Clerk Treasurer Tom Dippel will approve, or not, lowering the charges. Residents are responsible for making repairs and can request just one adjustment every 24 months.

”¢ Approved an $11,000 purchase for new radio equipment from Harmonic Electronics of Jasper to allow Williams to better monitor water intake from the city’s remote locations. The radio system should be much more reliable than their current methods, which can leave them blind during a storm.

Ӣ Williams announced hydrant flushing throughout the city will begin next week. A story with locations and times is here.

”¢ Announced the south water tower painting and repair project will begin soon. The tower will be out of service for up to 45 days, although Williams said they don’t expect it to be that long. Residents on the south side should expect lower water pressures during that time, but service will not be interrupted. The city will send out a press release as work is set to begin.

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