KOUTS | Two deadlines are combining to create a bit of a financial headache for the town.
Town Engineer Jim Mandon told the council Monday he probably will have to finish the plans for relocating the water and sanitary sewer lines on either side of a drainage ditch west of town by the end of the year. Also, the town has until Dec. 31 to prepare a plan for making all its public facilities handicapped accessible.
The latter deadline was set by the federal government for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Mandon is the person who will have to implement the plan. Town officials were only recently made aware of the Dec. 31 deadline. Clerk-Treasurer Laurie Tribble said a lot of towns are in the same predicament.
Mandon said he can work on both the ADA and the utility relocation plans, but it will mean going over the 30-hour monthly limit covered by the flat fee the town pays for his services and he would have to charge for the extra time. He estimated the ADA work would put him about 15 hours over.
The town has fewer than 50 employees, so the ADA compliance plan would only involve checking the town hall and its one park for accessibility. The plan must include a schedule for a reasonable time to complete any alterations to the facilities along with cost estimates of the work.
"The federal government can't force the town to make the improvements so that it causes a severe negative financial impact," he said. "If you don't meet the year-end deadline, federal funds would no longer be available for projects, and that means funds for relocation of the utilities would not be available."
The Indiana Department of Transportation plans to replace the culvert under Ind. 8 with one that is longer to reduce the grade along both sides of the road. The utility lines are in the way of the extended culvert. INDOT plans to bid the project in April, and Mandon said he might be able to put off some of the design work until January to ease the cost to the town.
The town will have to pay 10 percent of the annual revenue of the utilities for the relocation, and the rest will be reimbursed. Mandon said the town might save money by doing it without combining it with the culvert replacement, but it could also be an advantage turning it all over to the state to handle.