Andrews TC still working on grant for project

The Andrews Town Council discussed the town’s pursuit of a grant to fund a stormwater infrastructure project during its meeting on Monday, Jan. 22.

During a public hearing, the board received information from Matt Brinkman, grant administrator, Region 3A Development and Regional Planning Commission, regarding the criteria that the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) will use to score grant applications.

One criterion that would strengthen the town’s application, noted Council President Bill Johnson, would be the implementation of a stormwater fee for residents. That, however, is not currently being considered, he said.

Johnson cited the town’s wastewater rate increase last year as being the main reason why council would not consider introducing a stormwater charge to residents.

“The town will put the money up to not only build the stormwater system, but maintain it as well for as long as we can,” he said.

The cost of the stormwater project that the board would like to get moving on totals $676,000; the OCRA grant the town is pursuing would cover $600,000 of that cost. The project would see a storm sewer installed on West McKeever Street. That sewer, said Eric Woodmansee, from project manager, engineering firm RQAW, would run from Leedy Lane to Loon Creek.

Beyond the West McKeever Street project, Johnson said that he and Utility Superintendent Colin Bullock met with representatives from the Indiana Department of Transportation on Jan. 11 and inquired about the possibility of the department installing a storm sewer on Ind.-105. With INDOT planning to repave the roadway in December, Johnson shared that he and Bullock suggested to the representatives that a storm sewer be installed at that time, in the interests of keeping water off the road, which reduce its long-term maintenance costs.

The sewer proposed by Johnson and Bullock would run to the railroad tracks in town, where there is a pipe that extends to Loon Creek.

The construction of storm sewers in town would, ultimately, be beneficial to the town’s new, under-construction wastewater treatment plant, said Johnson. The receiving lines at the town’s current plant, he noted, collect a considerable amount of stormwater, which can be taxing on the plant’s equipment.

“The more stormwater they have to clean, the more we have to replace and upgrade that equipment, which is costly,” he said.

As part of the grant application process, the town commissioned an income survey, in which all residents are asked to participate. Data from the survey, said council, will not be viewed by anyone from the town. Instead, Ball State University, which is helping conduct the survey, will be the only party to see the results. The town will receive just a summary of the data.

The deadline to apply for the grant is Feb. 9.

In other business, Tom Wuensch, chief of the Andrews Volunteer Fire Department, was given permission to purchase equipment and have a fire truck repaired.

Wuensch will purchase a rescue tool, commonly known as “jaws of life,” for $9,000, and a set of four struts used in rescue operations for $5,160.

Repairs to the fire truck, the department’s 202 unit, will include the fixing of its lights, sirens and a window crank.