Hebron turns public works duties over to MCO

2013-03-16T18:15:00Z Hebron turns public works duties over to MCOPhil Wieland phil.wieland@nwi.com, (219) 548-4352 nwitimes.com

HEBRON | In a move the Hebron Town Council hopes will save money and help with several projects it plans to do, the members voted unanimously at a special meeting Tuesday to eliminate the town's public works department.

Instead, the water plant, sewage treatment plant and street departments will be under the management of MCO at a cost of $125,000 a year. Council President Don Ensign said the town has been looking into the change for the past two months and the only person whose job is eliminated is Public Works Director Jim Shelhart.

Clerk-Treasurer Terri Waywood said two public works employees previously left and their positions will not be filled. Another plans to leave for another job at the end of the month. Decisions on whether to hire anyone will be left to MCO to make recommendations. Randy Docker, of MCO, will take over management of the department.

MCO, which also provides the same service for Kouts and several other small communities in the area, took over Wednesday. Waywood said MCO will provide training for the employees to get licenses to operate the sewer and water utilities and to help them get their CDL licenses to drive the heavy equipment.

She said an outside contractor might be needed to handle mowing in the parks and detention basins in the summer, but that was the practice in the past, too.

Ensign said, "They are a professional group, and we felt we needed to make a change there to improve and save costs. They are associated with McMahon Associates, and they can give us help with a lot of projects, like the Monroe Street drainage and the expansion of the sewers to the northern annexed area.

"The costs are about a wash, but we're hoping the savings will be in the long run," he said. "We have a lot of projects on the books and this looks like a better opportunity for us. We had thought about hiring MCO prior to Jim coming on board, but we decided we wanted to do things as we had in the past.

"As things keep going, you've got to look at everything you can. My hope is that there will be better efficiency and reliability, and in those there will be cost savings and it's a better opportunity to get projects done in a timely manner."

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