of water district outlined
Cathy May, Contributing Writer
About 20 people attended a public hearing June 28 on the forming
of the Vernon Fork Water District. A hearing was held in each of
the three counties, which will form the district: Decatur, Jennings
The goal of the proposed three county district will be to establish
reliable sources of drinking water, provide adequate fire protection,
promote public health and a cleaner environment, and ultimately
improve the overall quality of life for residents.
A regional water district is a government entity created by law
that helps to facilitate the expansion of water service to rural
areas. The primary advantage of forming a district is its eligibility,
as a unit of government, to apply for low-interest public funds
to plan and build needed facilities. Those funds include: the Indiana
State Revolving Fund low interest loan program, the USDA Indiana
Rural Development loan and grant programs, and the Indiana Community
Focus Fund grant program.
The territory to be included by the proposed district includes all
unincorporated areas of the three counties excluding the areas of
Jennings Northwest Regional utilities, Lake Santee Water District
and anyone not currently in the Hoosier Hills Regional Water District.
The district will be governed by a nine member board of trustees,
each appointed for a term of three years. Appointments will be made
as follows: one by each countys commissioners, one by each
countys council and one joint appointment of the commissioners
The hearing was facilitated by Lynne Newlin, Regional Water &
Sewer District Coordinator for the Indiana Department of Environmental
Management (IDEM). During the first part of the evening, the floor
was open for questions.
Darlene Volk, clerk-treasurer of the Napoleon Water Company, was
concerned because they had not been in the loop and
kept informed of what was happening. She also wanted to be sure
the people selected for the board were people who knew water systems
and not just politicians. One suggestions made was to have ex-officio
members of the board. They could attend meetings and give their
opinion but not vote.
Linda Tieman of the Holton Water Company, said they had already
had a water study done with Jennings County. She said because Ripley
County is situated higher, the study showed they could not get water
because it would have to be pumped uphill. Tiemen was asked to send
a copy of their study to IDEM.
Robert Byrum of Batesville was concerned about the cost of putting
in the lines to the property owner. It was stated that if your well
is not threatened by contamination the regional district board has
no specific statutory authority to force anyone to hook on.
Attorney Neil Comer is doing the legal work to put the project together.
Comer said, We are in the infancy stage of this project. We
need a good source of water especially in Ripley and Decatur County
for both the short and long term.