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Town council increases utility fees

BY Kaitlin Gebby - kgebby@wabashplaindealer.com

NORTH MANCHESTER — The North Manchester Town Council approved an ordinance to increase fees for water utility services and equipment in the area during their meeting Wednesday night.  

While the rate residents pay for water use is not increasing, Clerk Treasurer Carrie Mugford said the increase in equipment and service fees is due to the current fees not covering two months of services when the initial deposit is made. 

According to the ordinance, the $1,671 charge for a 5/8-inch meter tap installation was removed and replaced by a $1,671 minimum charge for installing a ¾-inch or smaller meter connection to the water system. The charge for reconnecting water services is also determined to be $100 by the new ordinance. The ordinance passed unanimously on all readings. 

The town council also voted in favor of an ordinance that will establish a revolving loan program. 

The Indiana Revolving Fund Program provides low interest loans to communities for projects that focus on local infrastructure. According to the ordinance, labeled General Ordinance 2, the town council said funds for the program will be be made from deposits on the repayment of loans, economic development funds not exceeding $300,000, grants received by the town and bonds issued for the Revolving Fund Program.

Town Manager Adam Penrod said this program “will benefit the town as a whole,” by providing money for new programs, non-profits and projects.

Several town residents offered their comments to the council during their meeting Wednesday night, including Bob Sklar, who lodged a complaint about not receiving his trash pickup as often as eight times last year.

“By my calculations, eight out of 52 weeks, that’s 85 percent,” he said. “Do you think that’s acceptable?”

Other residents were upset with how town services dealt with the recent snow and ice. Lois Karnof said the sidewalk in front of her business was blocked by snow plowed from the street. Mike Larson complained that ice on sidewalks had been present throughout the storms and that he witnessed several people fall.

“How many people have to get hurt?” he asked. “Is it so hard to put some salt down?”

The council is not permitted to respond during public comments, and Council President Chalmer Tobias advised that the board would take the comments into consideration and respond accordingly after the meeting.