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Letter To The Editor - Sewer Project

 

Robert Fiedler

landowner on

ShipshewanaLake

Evergreen Park, Ill.

 

To the Editor:

Now that House/Senate bill 1117 has been passed, and I believe has been signed by Governor Daniels, I wonder what is in store for the concerned people in the path of the largely unwanted Shipshewana West sewer project.

The bill certainly seems to present problems if the Regional Utility District is still intent on forcing it down our throats. It seems impossible to have the project up and running prior to July 1, 2012 to beat the effective date of the bill. After all, they still need easements from quite a few people and I wonder if the Utility District obtained the Army Corps of Engineers (and others) permit that was listed as necessary in the latest DNR permit renewal.

The thing that seems to be the biggest roadblock to me is the ability of homeowners in the path of a project to notify and later provide proof to a Utility District that their septic system was installed new and is currently functioning in order to “opt-out” of connecting for as much as 20 years. It should be foreseeable that a large number of people may qualify for and probably seek such a classification. After all, the route includes dozens of fairly new houses along CR 250 and along the lake, presumably built to code where you would expect a fully functioning septic system.

How does one go about proceeding with a project that requires borrowing a very large amount of money, when you don’t know how many customers will be there to pay the bills? How are the rates established and published in December 2011 even valid? After all, those rates were determined by taking the total annual estimated monetary needs of the project and dividing it by the amount of users. If the number of potential users drops significantly, then aren’t those rates obsolete? Are they so determined to push it through that they’ll go ahead with a greatly reduced number of users and a really punishing monthly charge to those users that are left, if that’s what it will take? If so, then I really think people need to contact whoever appointed these people to their posts. After all, it’s an election year, one of those select times when a constituent may get the ear of an elected official.

I hope the Utility District doesn’t make another decision that only enriches a select few professionals. We saw that before when instead of simply fixing the problems and filing for a new permit, the decision was made to fight it out in court for as long as it took, with lawyers getting rich by the word. I certainly hope the LCRUD leadership chooses a wiser course of action this time.