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 Carthage Holds Public Hearing on Proposed Water Project

April 22, 2009 - The Carthage Town Council held a brief, poorly attended public hearing last Friday on the town's proposed wastewater system improvement project.

After calling the 6 p.m. proceeding to order, Council President Rick Bush read aloud the town's brief legal notice it had published in a Rush County newspaper advertising the hearing. The notice described the project as having two phases: The first phase will address infiltration and inflow issues, while the second involves construction of a new wastewater treatment plant.

The lone citizen who attended the hearing had no questions or comments about the proposed project. Additional information about the cost of the project was provided in response to questions from The Banner.

Bush said the projected cost for the first phase is $737,000, and $2.9 million for the second phase. He also said the project includes $490,000 in engineering fees, $140,000 for the project supervisor and $30,000 in fees for bond counsel.

The town is hoping to get a $2.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Rural Development. The rest of the project would be funded through a $1,958,000 loan from the same agency.

At some point, monthly sewer rates for the town's utility customers are expected to go up. Clerk-Treasurer Linda McMahan said she though they would be going up to a $44 flat fee for all customers, which she said was about a $14 a month increase.

Council Vice President Wanda Henderson said some of the council's members are scheduled to meet with project engineers on April 28. She said it could be another six months before ground is actually broken on the first phase of the project.

Jimmie Alcorn, the town's works manager, said that infiltration and inflow issues will be addressed by slip-lining some water lines and rehabilitating manholes where water is getting into the system. He also said there may be some instances where sections of water line need to be replaced.

During a special meeting that followed the public hearing, Bush signed an agreement hiring Hannum Wagle & Cline as engineers on the wastewater project. This is the same Indianapolis firm that served as engineers on the water improvement project completed last year.

The council also dealt with a couple items of business at last week's meeting regarding Carthage Town Marshal Dan Murphy. First, the council agreed to pay $20 to have Murphy's cell phone number changed, with the agreement that the town will stop paying for Murphy's cell phone.

Because he had been using it for work, the town had been paying Murphy's entire cell phone bill. McMahan said at last week's meeting that Murphy's monthly phone bills had been running about $150 a month. By contrast, the town pays Alcorn $45 a month toward his cell phone bill.

The council also agreed to advance Murphy $400 to help him get his car fixed before he leaves to attend training at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy next week. The council characterized the money as an advance on mileage reimbursement the town would be paying Murphy for driving his own vehicle back and forth to the ILEA while he's in training.

Once Murphy is finished at the academy, he and the town will calculate his mileage reimbursement. If he is owed less than the $400 advance, Murphy will repay the difference to the town.

Council member Doris Wyatt said she had a problem advancing Murphy the $400. However, rather than vote against the move, she simply abstained.


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