Roanoke council discusses closure timeline for lagoon

The Roanoke Town Council discussed a proposed timeline for the closure of a lagoon near the town’s wastewater treatment plant during its meeting on Tuesday, June 5.

The formulation of a timeline was mandated by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, which has directed the town to extract heavy metals from the lagoon. The body of water was contaminated by a former business in town, C and M Plating, several years ago.

In fulfillment of IDEM’s mandate, council had Holly Miller, a public works project manager with engineering firm DLZ, prepare a five-year closure timeline. Miller and the town’s supervisor of operations, Phil Hibbert, will meet with IDEM on June 14. The closure plan will be submitted following council’s June 19 meeting for IDEM to review.

Miller estimated that the cost of closing the lagoon would total $1 million. Because of the high price tag, she explained that the first three to four years of her plan are devoted to the town gathering funds to pay for the project. As for how the town will amass those funds, Clerk-Treasurer JoAnne Kirchner proposed increasing the amount of money going into the town’s sewer rainy day fund. Currently, $7,000 from the sewer operating fund funnels into the rainy day fund each month.

Kirchner suggested raising that amount to $10,000. Council Vice President Troy Karshner proposed a more aggressive total of $15,000, but Kirchner responded that $13,000 was as high as she recommended going. Kirchner stated that she would have an amendment to the ordinance that created the rainy day fund prepared for council’s next meeting.

In the amendment, she will increase the monthly total from $7,000 to $13,000.

Raising the town’s sewer rate was also discussed as a method of generating funds for the project. Kirchner noted that if council was interested in raising the rate substantially, a rate study would need to be performed first. The cost of that study would be between $2,500 and $2,900, she said.

In other business, Chad Taylor, chief of the Roanoke Volunteer Fire Department, notified council that he would be stepping down from his post on July 13. Taylor said that his impending resignation stemmed from the fact that he would be moving out of town. Council thanked Taylor for his 20 years of service to the fire department, which included an 11-year run as chief.

Taylor stated that the RVFD Board of Directors would be conducting a sign-up process for candidates to replace him.
After reviewing candidates’ qualifications, the board will conduct an election. Taylor noted that the election could occur as soon as the week of June 11.

Prior to announcing his departure from the fire department, Taylor reported to council that RVFD’s new fire truck was set to be delivered to the town by Summit Fire Apparatus in July.

Before the end of the meeting, Kirchner requested that the town’s department heads submit tentative budgets for 2019 to her before council’s next meeting. She noted that she would be meeting with the state on Aug. 27.