The Marshall County Council passed a resolution Monday to send a petition to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to establish a Regional Sewer District (RSD) in Marshall County. The council voted 5 to 2 to approve the resolution. Councilmen Tim Harman and Jesse Bohannon voted against the sewer project.
During the discussion Councilman Heath Thornton spoke about the makeup of the sewer board by telling members there will be 7 citizens appointed to the board with the Commissioners selecting 4 board members and the Council selecting 1. The Mayor of Plymouth or City Council will select a board member and there will be a representative from the Bremen area.
Ken Jones Jr. from the engineering firm of Jones, Petrie and Rafinski attended the meeting and said septic systems don’t last forever, they do fail and being able to have a sewer system to connect to is a huge benefit to homeowners. He said while there was opposition to the Koontz Lake sewer project but since its completion there has been lots of growth with new home building and remodeling of existing homes. He also said in the 13 study areas there was between 72 to 76% of the septic systems and are undocumented, meaning they were completed prior to the time when the county started documenting them or were completed without a permit.
Councilman Jon VanVactor said the idea to get the Regional Sewer District up and running is for the welfare of the citizens.
Councilman Steve Harper talked about the benefit of selling a home that is connected to a sewer system. He also said the county has proposed waivers for citizens in the newer septic systems and for properties with acreage in the service area.
Councilman Jim Masterson wanted to clarify that there will not be a county tax to help with the Regional Sewer District. He said those who benefit from the sewers are the ones who will pay.
While Councilman Tim Harman said he was supportive of a sewer project for the lakes area he said bringing in all the other areas like Burr Oak, Inwood is too wide and extensive. He told the council he would not be able to support a petition with 13 service areas listed.
There was talk about the public meeting that was held in February to discuss and explain the process to the citizens. Only a couple of citizens spoke out against the creation of a Regional Sewer District. And JPR has been fielding phone calls and emails from citizens who have questions about the project.
Ken Jones Jr. said the petition to IDEM is the next step in the process. He also said those in the service areas will be notified by IDEM about the request to establish a Regional Sewer District in Marshall County. They will also conduct a public hearing on the request.
When the motion was made to sign the joint resolution with the commissioners for the petition to INDOT five members of the County Council voted yes: Steve Harper, Jon VanVactor, Mandy Campbell, Jim Masterson and Heath Thornton. Two councilmen voted against the creations of a regional sewer district, Tim Harman and Jesse Bohannon.
The petition will now be sent to IDEM with all the details including a listing and mapping of the proposed 13 service areas and information including all the comments at the public hearing and those asked of JPR prior to and following the public hearing.