Commissioners discuss three county water district

Cathy May, Contributing Writer

There was a light agenda for the Ripley County Commissioners meeting held on June 4, which gave Commissioners time for a lengthy discussion on the new Regional Water District being formed by Decatur, Jennings and Ripley County.

County Attorney, Neal Comer, gave the Commissioners an over view on the progress of the formation of the district. A public meeting on the district will be held in each county the last week of June. In Ripley County it will be held on Thursday, June 28 at 7:00 p.m. at the Osgood Town Hall.

A preliminary engineering report for the initial planning of the regional water system in Decatur, Jennings and Ripley Counties was conducted by Robert E. Curry and Associates out of Danville, Indiana. The report shows the nature of the water deficiencies in the three counties, provides alternatives to alleviate the problems, and gives a financial profile.
According to the report, phase one of the project is to "utilize the existing water supply in the most optimum manner." Alternate "C" addresses Ripley County. The steps proposed are as follows:

1. Holton Water Company would agree to purchase all of their water from the Town of Versailles rather than the Town of Osgood.
2. Construct a water main from Hoosier Hills Water Company from the existing water main on S.R. 350 N & W around the Town of Osgood to US 421.
3. Hoosier Hills agrees to sell 450,000 gallons per day to the Napoleon Water Company.
4. Town of Osgood agrees to sell 250,000 gallons per day to the Napoleon Water Company.

This alternative would provide 700,000 gallons per day that Napoleon Water Company could pump north along U.S. 421 to County Road 400S where Decatur County Water has an existing 8" water main. It would consist of constructing approximately 64,000 lineal feet of new 12" water main from the north side of the Town of Napoleon along U.S. 46 to County Road 400S in Decatur County."

Also, a new water booster station would be required on the north side of Osgood to replace the existing water booster station owned by the Napoleon Water Company. Approximately 20,000 lineal feet of new 12" water main would be required from S.R. 350 north and west around the west side of the Town of Osgood to the suction side of the new water booster station to be located on U.S. 421 north of Osgood.

The estimated cost of Alternative "C" is $4,100,000.

Phase Two of the Waterworks Project will require evaluation of several alternatives and selecting the alternatives that provide the most benefit to the regional water service area. Suggested Ripley County alternatives are to build another reservoir and remove siltation from the Versailles Lake to improve its effectiveness as a raw water source.
The total cost of Phase Two is estimated at 25 million dollars for all three counties. This report was ordered and paid for by the Jennings Water Company.
Attorney Comer said he feels the water district could be in place by the end of July. Each county will have three representatives on the Regional Water District Board.
In other business: Commissioners approved a copier for the Assessor’s office at a cost of $3,827.20.

Several buildings in Elrod have been inspected by the building inspector. Planning Director Tad Brinson said one building is not viable for improvement and should come down.
Homeland Security has suggested that all government buildings use only one entrance for safety purposes and that a person be stationed at that entrance. The Commissioners discussed the matter.

Tourism Director, Katherine Taul, had the Commissioners select the cover for the new Ripley County Road Atlas. The old maps are available at the Ripley County Auditor’s office. They are free.

All three commissioners were in attendance: Rob Reiners, Chuck Folz and Lawrence Nickels. County Attorney, Neal Comer was present to advise the Commissioners. The next meeting of the Ripley County Commissioners will be June 18 at 8:00 a.m. at the Commissioners’ Room of the Ripley County Annex.