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Ferguson Ditch plan decision on hold

Huntertown delays vote 2 more weeks

Huntertown residents owning property near Ferguson Ditch will have to wait two more weeks to hear if the town will help pay their portion of a ditch reconstruction project.

Town council members were unable to make a decision Tuesday on whether to cover the $55,000 in fees that will be billed to residents who own property within the watershed of Ferguson Ditch because the matter is still being investigated, Council President Pat Freck said.

The town attorney is checking the legalities of the issue, Freck said, and the deputy clerk-treasurer needs to check funding levels to see where the money would come from.

Attorney Dave Hawk and deputy clerk-treasurer Janine Rudolph were unable to attend the meeting.

Huntertown must pay nearly $400,000 of the $452,625 cost for the restoration of Ferguson Ditch, and the rest will be split among nearly 260 sites within the watershed area. Residents will be assessed a one-time fee of $211 and after that, a yearly maintenance fee of $35 an acre.

At last week’s drainage board meeting, Allen County commissioners and drainage board members Linda Bloom and Therese Brown asked whether the town would consider picking up the one-time reconstruction fees after several residents objected, saying the costs were excessive and too many expenses were being spread among too few residents.

The old pipes in the drainage ditch have been blamed for flooding in the older sections of Huntertown, caused by infiltration into the stormwater system from excessive rainwater or melting snow.

In other business, the town renewed its garbage contract with Republic Services for another year.

The town plans to solicit bids for a new contract but have "too many things going on" to do it before the end of the year, Freck said.

The cost will increase 2.1 percent next year with residents’ monthly bills going from $11.27 to $11.51.

The town could have avoided the increase by dropping the fall trash pick up day on Oct. 11, but Councilman Gary Grant said the increase was minimal.

"Without the free pickup days, people could start to leave stuff laying around and then we’ll have others coming in to complain," Grant said. "It’s $2.88 more a year, and it’s worth it to keep the town looking nice."

The town likes to put the services out for bid when the contract is about to expire, Freck said.

This year for the first time, the town took part in Republic’s recycling program, agreeing to forward all quarterly incentive checks from Republic to Huntertown Park.

The town already turned over nearly $800 to the park for the first six months of the year, Councilman Jim Fortman said.