Board of Public Works 01/07/2019


The Charlestown Board of Public Works met for a regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, January 7, 2019. Following is a summary of the meeting with full audio (14:05) available at the end:


  1. Call to Order/Pledge of Allegiance – Led by Shane Spicer
  2. Determination of a Quorum and Roll Call – Members present were Ted Little, Bob Hall, and Ben Ledbetter. Also in attendance were City Attorney, Michael Gillenwater, and Clerk Treasurer, Donna Coomer.
  3. Approval of Minutes from 12/17/2018, Current Claims, and Payroll Allowance Docket from 12/17/2018 to 01/06/2019 were combined into one motion for approval.
    • Motion to approve made by Ben Ledbetter
    • Seconded by Ted Little
    • No Discussion
    • Unanimous Approval
  4. Public Comment – Frank Worgull (12205 Highway 62)
    • Mr. Worgull purchased property that has had prior problems with sewage and one week ago sewage backed up into his house. His is the last house before the city’s lift station. The incident took six hours for plumbers to clear and since he is at the end of the line, the blockage could have come from any number of the houses in the line before him. He is now stuck with significant repair expenses and does not believe he should be held fully liable for a problem that could have been caused by any of the other residences on the line.
    • Mayor Hall said that this has been a known issue since his first term in 2000. At one point the issue went to court.
    • Mr. Gillenwater explained that the court’s ruling gave the city responsibility only from the lift station on, with responsibility up to that point belonging to the property owners. He offered that a back flow protector should help.
    • Mr. Worgull explained that the check valve failed because of the pressure.
    • Mr. Gillenwater explained that all of the property owners have joint responsibility for that system. The city’s position to the developer was that if the system was brought up to code, then they might accept it into the system. At this point it is not in the city, it only leads to the city’s lift station. The city does not know what’s in the ground and the system has never been inspected by them. Until the city is given assurances that what is in the ground complies with city and state requirements then the city is not required to accept it and the owners keep responsibility for the system. He said they need to work it out among themselves. What was originally installed was not supervised by the city and it’s not easily checked.
    • Mayor Hall noted that the system was installed in the 1990s and he came into office in 2000 so he inherited the problem before it eventually went to court.
    • Mr. Gillenwater explained that the city rate payers do not have responsibility to bring that part of the system up to code. The City could go in and put in a new system and bill the people who live there for that service if they decided to do so but right now the responsibility remains with the residents.
    • Mr. Worgull asked what company the city would trust to tell them if the system is currently up to code.
    • Mayor Hall said that no-one would be able to tell that right now unless they wanted to dig everything up. He said the original system was poorly designed (water lines and sewer lines in the same hole, garden hoses used instead of pipes) and that clear plans were never given, which pushed the issue to court years ago. He said if it was simple it would have been fixed already.
    • Mr. Gillenwater said the Board will not likely take the system into the city’s liability without having it repaired first.
    • Mr. Worgull said that his other concern is the drainage system in the neighborhood. He spent $10,000 fencing in his property for his dogs and children and they can’t use it because of flooding.
    • Mayor Hall said the drainage is a county issue and outside city limits. He recommended the County Drainage Board.
    • Ted Little said that in 2006 he remembered someone from that neighborhood appeared before the city. He said the developer never had any actual engineering done there.
    • Mr. Worgull pointed out that he was tied into a shared line.
    • Mayor Hall asked if there is another line he can tie into.
    • Mr. Worgull said he intends to tie in on a private line.
    • Mayor Hall said he will need to get that line approved before tie-in.
  5. Approval of Contracts
    • Mike Gillenwater – Annual renewal for continuing legal services
      • Motion to approve made by Ted Little
      • Seconded by Ben Ledbetter
      • No Discussion
      • Unanimous approval
    • Mark Obermiller – Annual renewal for continuing contract for Christmas decoration planning and design
      • Motion to approve made by Ben Ledbetter
      • Seconded by Ted Little
      • No Discussion
      • Unanimous Approval
  6. Adjournment
    • Motion made by Ben Ledbetter
    • Seconded by Ted Little
    • Unanimous approval


Full audio available here:


Author: Treva Hodges

Resident of Charlestown, Indiana. Advocate.

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