March 19, 2014

County explores utilities for Clymers

Logansport mayor, LMU at odds with commissioners.

by Mitchell Kirk Pharos-Tribune

---- — CLYMERS — Cass County officials are exploring bringing water, stormwater and wastewater services to the unincorporated town of Clymers and what will become the county’s industrial park.

A grant-funded study on the matter was completed recently and presented to Cass County commissioners and members of the public Monday night.

The study area consists of Clymers and an area to its northeast being proposed for the county’s industrial park. This area includes Essroc Cement Corp., ADM and Andersons Ethanol. Both Clymers and the proposed park fall within the county’s tax increment financing district.

Jon Borgers of Indianapolis-based Wessler Engineering spoke on what it would take to bring water service to the area and what it would take to expand it to the TIF district. Possibilities include bringing an old well in the area back into service and drilling a new well field north of the area. The proposed distribution system includes 4- and 6-inch mains coming in off of 8-inch mains from the wells. Borgers also discussed elevated tanks, which commissioners have commented on favorably in the past for contributing to fire protection, as the towers would ultimately reduce insurance costs for industries in the area.

Price estimates for bringing water service to the area range from $3.9 million to $7 million.

Ethel Morgan of Beech Grove-based Hometown Engineering discussed wastewater solutions like gravity sewer systems, lift stations, grinder pump systems, vacuum systems and treatment options like lagoon and mound systems. Price estimates for that part of the project range from $1 million to $2.7 million.

Trent Newport of Crossroad Engineers said stormwater improvements would not be nearly as extensive or expensive as implementing water and wastewater systems. He said storm sewers should be constructed to drain a couple of areas and recommended cleaning out some side ditches. The estimated cost for this part of the project is $50,000.

Representatives of the engineering firms suggested grants, TIF funds and bonding as funding sources for the projects.

Logansport Mayor Ted Franklin addressed the commissioners during the public comments portion of the meeting, reiterating a wish for Logansport Municipal Utilities to be involved in the project.

A letter from the commissioners to LMU Superintendent Paul Hartman from October 2013 reflects the county is open to considering a proposal from LMU, should it submit one in writing. Hartman’s reply states information from the engineering study is necessary for such a proposal and goes on to request such information.

The commissioners, however, declined to release any information from the report until the public meeting.

“We find it unreasonable to hold a public hearing and expect intelligent and informed comments from the public, when access to the report has been repeatedly denied by those in possession of it,” Franklin told the commissioners.

In an interview after the meeting, Cass County Commissioners President Jim Sailors said LMU would have to bid on the project like any other interested party.