Council agrees to not support sewer proposal

Wanda English Burnett, Editor

The request of Sunman resident Donna McCool for the Ripley County Council to revisit a decision the council had made initially supporting the proposal of the Sunman Regional Sewer District was honored at the meeting Monday, January 12.

Commissioner Robert Reiners was in attendance at the meeting and noted that the commissioners never supported the proposal of a sewer district. He said they felt there was never a need shown to them for the district in the first place. Other things that had them question the validity of the project, was how the route of the sewer lines had been changed several times and the burden it would place on property owners in the area. “Why force something on someone when they don’t want it and the need hasn’t been shown?” he questioned.

The whole signing of the resolution seemed vague to members of the council and no minutes were ever found to substantiate the council’s initial decision according to McCool.

Sunman resident Ruth Riehle was also in attendance and noted that 183 letters have been received at IDEM in opposition to the proposal.

Saying in this mostly rural area this type of project would cause undue hardship on people financially, council member Juanita Kaiser made the motion for the council to withdraw their support. “I have concerns over people being able to afford it,” she noted.

Attorney Neil Comer advised that a new resolution had to be adopted. “You can’t take back the other one,” he noted. The council agreed to adopt a new resolution that would rescind what they had previously agreed to. Newcomer to the council, Bill Warren, seconded the motion and it carried five in favor with Bill Dramann abstaining. He told Riehle after the meeting that as a newcomer to the council (this was his first meeting), he didn’t know enough about the situation to make an informed decision. Ed Armbrecht was the only member not in attendance.

The council voted unanimously to keep the meetings on the third Monday of each month with the exception of February. That meeting will be held one week earlier on February 9.

Dephane Smith was again elected president of the council.

In other business:

• $40,000 was appropriated for a new phone system for the county. This was a grant from the Lily Foundation that was channeled through the Ripley County Community Foundation.

• Commissioner Reiners reported on the most recent SEI Regional Planning Committee meeting. He noted there was a large turnout with a lot of interest generated from President-Elect Barack Obama’s stimulus proposal. He said that Ripley County will be applying for their share of the money that would help with roads, bridges, and economic development such as shovel ready sites.

• Attorney Neil Comer noted that a new bill now in legislation could impact the local Solid Waste District. More information would be given at the Thursday SISWD meeting (January 15).

• Reiners reported that the county highway department has applied for a grant to purchase a culvert cleaning machine. The RCRC has also applied for some grants for economic development.

Under appointments to represent the council:

• Jeff Volz was appointed to Economic Development.

• Rick Green was appointed to the Batesville Economic Development Commission.

• Don Dunbar was appointed to the SEI Solid Waste District with Bill Warren serving as pro tem.

• Dephane Smith was appointed to the SEI Regional Planning Commission.

• Ben Peetz was appointed to the E911 Advisory Board.

The next meeting of the council will be held February 9 at 7 p.m. at the courthouse annex in Versailles. Bill Dramann, Bill Warren, David Simon, Don Dunbar, Dephane Smith, and Juanita Kaiser were present at the meeting. Auditor Mary Ann McCoy was present to take the minutes with Attorney Neil Comer to advise the council.