Council Meeting: Apr 18, 2022, ARPA Funded Projects

abe martin sage of brown county hoosierindianacom

Council Meeting. April 18, 2022. 6:30 pm.  With a vote of 4 to 3, the council approved the projects to be funded from the revenue obtained from the American Rescue Plan Act. This includes the sewer projects. Those on the council (Redding, Critser, Knight, Hewett) in favor of these projects believed their responsibility was limited to just supporting what the commissioners approved (rubber stamp) and ensuring proper budgeting and accounting (fiduciary responsibility).

Scott Rudd asked good questions regarding priorities, scope, roles and responsibilities of key stakeholders, and risks that are typically included in a summary of a project plan. This information is important to citizens that are affected by the respective projects. Given a basic understanding of the Constitution, for some council members to believe they have no responsibilities regarding the efficient as well as effective use of taxpayer dollars is interesting.

Gary Huett, president of the council, believed his conversation with the BCRSD regarding the project was sufficient due diligence and took no action to delay the vote to address the concerns expressed by fellow councilmen.

Note that leadership within the local republican party are vocal advocates of development through the expansion of sewers and all the commissioners and council members are representatives of the local party.

Previous Approvals.  In 2018, the council approved 270K to the BCRSD to put a sewer plant in Bean Blossom without asking for or reviewing a project plan. Dave Redding was president of the council at the time.  The council did not provide any oversight regarding how the funds were spent. The BCRSD spent 220K on the project and was not able to acquire land. The BCRSD have also stated they need 190 easements from landowners. Further difficulties in acquiring these easements will likely adversely affect the timeline for the Helmsburg expansion that will also be supporting Lake Lemon residents.

The BCRSD was granted another 300K last night. The expanded Helmsburg plant will be providing service to Bean Blossom. The council was not provided a copy of the BCRSD or HRSD  proposals prior to the meeting nor did they have a chance or show any interest in reviewing the proposal at last night’s meeting. Dave Redding did a cursory review of the BCRSD proposal regarding the timeline and had no interest in discussing it any further. He chose not to run for reelection in 2022.

Background Information

Apr 13, 2022. Requests made for COVID-19 relief aid, commissioners going before council by   Suzannah Couch

    • Brown County Matters – Facebook Post of the Article and comments.  The April 18, 2022 Council Meeting will be an excellent opportunity to witness the county’s decision-making processes for justifying the expenditures of tax money. This will include funding for the Helmsburg sewer project (a need) and the Bean Blossom sewer project (a want). A good question to ask is for the detail that identifies what exactly will be provided to whom, and when. You might also ask if anyone can submit a funding request to the commissioners and council for a few hundred thousand with just a verbal justification that it will be for good things.

Apr 13, 2022. Moving forward: Boards to get COVID-19 relief funds for sewer project after public comments at meetings

    • Brown County Matters – Facebook Post of the Article and comments. I’m disappointed on the quality of the article. The context for this meeting was provided at the March 23 commissioner meeting where citizens refused to be silenced by the commissioners on the topic and challenged the information used to identify a need. The Democrat did not report on the Mar 23 meeting.

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