Andrews council deals with McKeever setback

The Andrews Town Council grappled with the fact that its mission to build a stormwater system on McKeever Street had been dealt a serious setback at its meeting on Monday, Dec. 10.

Council President Bill Johnson reported that Region 3A had submitted the town’s application for a grant that would help fund the aforementioned storm-water system after the deadline had passed. The grant in question was a community development block grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs totaling $600,000. Region 3A was serving as the town’s grant administrator.

The board had hoped to use the grant for a McKeever Street stormwater system that would run from Leedy Lane to the bridge over Loon Creek.

The application process for a community development block grant will restart on March 25, said Clerk-Treasurer Laura Dillon. While council is certain it will get reengaged in that process, it is less certain if it will retain the services of Region 3A. The board resolved to make a decision about the organization’s status as its grant administrator over the next few weeks.

“There’s just no excuse for that, for it not being in on time,” said Johnson of the town’s application.

Johnson noted that Matt Brinkman, Region 3A’s executive director, had offered to reduce the percentage of the grant that his organization receives in compensation for its work from eight percent to six and a half percent should the board bring Region 3A back as the grant administrator.

On another matter, council discussed the possibility of the Federal Emergency Management Agency purchasing houses in town that regularly flood due to their proximity to Loon Creek. Robert Jeffers, director of the Huntington County Emergency Management Agency, reported that the Huntington Countywide Department of Community Development had hired a contractor to redo the floodplain. Should the aforementioned houses – eight in all – be in the floodplain, Jeffers stated that the government would be amenable to purchasing the structures and demolishing them.

“We would like any help anyone can give us to get those properties out,” said Johnson.

Jeffers attended the meeting to present the Huntington County Multi-hazard Mitigation Plan, which he noted is recompiled every five years. The plan outlines how the county will respond to a variety of hazards, from floods to earthquakes. Jeffers requested that council pass a resolution to accept the plan and the board complied with that appeal.

In other business:

Utility Superintendent Colin Bullock delivered a completion update on the town’s new wastewater treatment plant, stating that it was now 99 percent finished. All of the equipment at the facility, he said, is operational.

Bullock requested and received permission to spend up to $25,000 on the purchase of an all-terrain vehicle for town employees.
Council approved a new service contract with Huntington County Economic Development for $3,000.