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Utility district taking property owners to court

The LaGrange County Regional Utility District Board voted Thursday evening to proceed to take four of the seven Shipshewana West system property owners who have not connected to the system to court.

The action came following a special meeting earlier in July when the board gave seven property owners the opportunity to let the board know what their intentions were. On Thursday, the board voted 3-1, with member Patrick Wiltshire voting against the motion, to sue the owners of four properties to obtain an order for them to connect.

The four properties listed in the motion were (owner information via LaGrange County GIS): 3375N 920W, Robert and Sharon Bowen; 3408N 915W, Robert and Sharon Bowen; 3425N 920W, Robert and Dianne Fiedler; 3400N 980W, Steve Schrock.

Of the seven properties discussed in July, three were given limited time extensions: 3430N 920W, Fred and Jeanene Taylor; 3280N 920W, Elmer and Ruth Glick; 3310N 920W, Elmer and Ruth Glick.

 The action is the last of a list of previous attempts to get the final group of property owners to connect, which included an attempt at an amnesty period during the construction last year that would have allowed those owners to hook into the system without penalty. That plan was denied by Rural Development, who provided financing for the project.

In other business:

The board was told by County Commissioner Garry Heller that the commissioners were planning to appoint a replacement for former board member Howard Slater, who stepped down from the board last month.

Walter Holland of Region A asked the board about a grinder pump that had been placed onto an access easement. The board was advised that the district should move the pump off the easement as the pump was not servicing his property, and placed on the neighboring property that it was servicing.

The board requested that the county confirm its position that the district repeal connection fee charges for the Fawn River Crossing service area. The board was told that the county should confirm that its position on the connection fees and repayment to the Major Moves Fund had changed since the connection fees had been established.

The board was told that a petition to cede territory along SR 9 to CR 300N to the Town of LaGrange for water service only had been drafted and was ready to be submitted to IDEM. Once approved, it will allow the town to extend a water line from CR 200N to CR 300N, where Filmore Equipment is currently constructing a new facility.

The board approved seeking bids to put additional office security features at the front entrance as well as a second exit from the boardroom. The district will also look at additional security at its other facilities.



The board heard from Region B consumer Tom Mason concerning an interlocal agreement drafted between the district and Steuben County in the early 1990s for the part of the service area that extends into Steuben County. Mason noted that IDEM had not signed the agreement, not was the agreement recorded in the county recorder’s office, along with other oversights. Mason questioned if the agreement with Steuben County was in effect based on the issues he raised.