Andrews Town Council creates stormwater board

The Andrews Town Council created a stormwater board at its meeting on Monday, March 12.

Council formed the board, which will oversee the town’s stormwater infrastructure, in the interests of improving the town’s odds of obtaining a community development block grant through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA). That grant would fund the construction of stormwater infrastructure in town.

While the board will be comprised of council’s three members, Council President Bill Johnson remarked that he and his fellow council members would welcome members of the community stepping in to take their places, in the interests of getting more citizens involved in making decisions for the town. For the time being, though, Johnson will serve on the board through 2020, Councilwoman Bonnie Walker will serve through 2019 and Councilman John Harshbarger will serve through the end of the year.

A resolution will be discussed at council’s next meeting, March 26. This resolution, if eventually passed, would implement a stormwater fee for residents. Council is considering introducing a fee for the same reason it formed the board. Harshbarger noted that when OCRA is considering awarding the town a grant, it will look at whether or not the town is prepared to financially maintain the infrastructure that such a grant would fund. This, he stated, is the reason why it is important for the town to be considering a stormwater fee.

On the topic of stormwater, council listened to a concern voiced by Michael Clabaugh about flooding at his mother’s house during heavy rain events. Clabaugh stated that he believed stormwater runoff from the parking lot at Andrews Elementary School was to blame for the issues at his mother’s residence, which he noted was downhill from the school, on Chestnut Street.

Johnson informed Clabaugh that he would instruct the engineering firm in charge of the town’s stormwater infrastructure projects, Fleis & VandenBrink, to take a look at the problem the next time its representatives are in town in hopes of identifying a solution. Additionally, Johnson said council would contact Tim Allen, the District 4 representative on the Huntington County Community School Board of School Trustees, and see that he is made aware of the issue.

In other business:

Town Marshal Austin Bullock shared with council that he had been in touch with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the United States Army Corps of Engineers regarding concrete bridge remnants left in Loon Creek. Bullock stated that neither agency was aware the remnants were there and that they would be making their removal a priority.

Johnson noted that council was considering borrowing money to construct a new community building for the town. He stated that the new facility would be at least as big as the town’s previous community building.