No residents speak at water, electric rate hearing
Acknowledging that no one loves paying extra for utilities, Centerville’s council voted unanimously on Valentine’s Day to slightly increase customers’ water and electric costs.
Nine residents attended public hearings preceding the votes, but most were town employees or volunteers. None spoke.
Increases are based on municipal adviser Baker Tilly’s studies. Town officials cited increasing costs for water treatment chemicals, repairs and electricity charges from Indiana Municipal Power Agency.
Rates increase March 1 and will be seen in bills after April 1, spread over two years for water and three years for electric.
Council’s Josh Tudor noted the average customer’s water bill will increase 52 cents per 1,000 gallons.
“It’s not a huge increase but a necessary one,” Tudor said. “I’m glad we can do it incrementally to reduce the burden.”
Councilor Jack Bodiker prefers implementing incremental rather than large increases, and Gary Holbert supported added preparations for emergencies, because water main repairs “can put you in a negative number real fast.”
“We want to make sure everybody gets good drinking water,” Holbert said. “We don’t want to raise it either, but what do you do?”
Regarding electric, President Dan Wandersee said rates haven’t increased since 2016.
Tudor said the flat customer charge increases about 30 cents per month, and less than 1 cent per kilowatt hour.
“We’re pretty fortunate that’s all we require in seven years, compared to other (area) electric bills,” Tudor said.
Charts outlining the increases, published in WWN’s Feb. 1 edition, are available at town hall.
Discussing Centerville-Abington Community Schools’ new cameras on school buses, Police Chief Ed Buchholz reminds motorists they must stop when buses extend stop arms. That’s even along the four-lane U.S. 40, because there’s no median.
Buchholz said motorists face a misdemeanor charge or infraction, depending on circumstances, along with several driver’s license points and a minimum fine of $140.
In other business
Health insurance: Wandersee and Town Manager Kevin Slick visited EPIC Insurance in Richmond to learn why town employees’ coverage continues with their 2022 provider rather than their 2023 selection, which was to save the town about $60,000. Wandersee said they hoped for feedback by week’s end.
New member: David Cate, who was selected to fill a vacancy, attended his first meeting.
Police: Council accepted Officer Tyler Greene’s resignation. Buchholz said Greene is joining the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office.
Community Crossings: Two paving bids were opened and tabled. They will be reviewed by the town manager, attorney and engineer. DC Construction Services bid $101,187.47 and Robinson Paving Inc. requested $90,882.50.
Fire: No news arrived regarding a state grant to renovate Fire Station No. 1, but that might come by Feb. 23.
Two events received approval: the chicken noodle fundraiser from 4-7 p.m. March 11 at Station 1 and a new 3 p.m. April 15 egg hunt in Maplewood Park.
Next meetings: Plan commission, 7 p.m. Feb. 23; council work session, 7 p.m. Feb. 28, both in the town hall and both open to the public.