The Peru Utilities Service Board held a meeting at the Peru office at 335 East Canal Street, Peru, Indiana, on April 9, 2014. Mr. Akers called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m. pursuant to notice as required by law. Board members present: S. Akers, J. Richter, M. Costin, G. Ward, and G. Sandbakken. Others present: B. Berkshire, R. Merriman, M. Dahlquist, L. Starkey, B. Tillett, T. Alley-City Council Liaison, and Chad Abshire-Peru Tribune. 


A motion was made by Mr. Richter to approve the minutes of the March 26, 2014, meeting. Mr. Ward seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.


A motion was made by Ms. Costin to approve the claims for payment as presented. Mr. Sandbakken seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.


The next regular meeting will be held Wednesday, April 30, 2014, at 4:00 p.m. in the Utility Service Board room.




Mr. Merriman asked the Board to authorize him to enter into a Professional Service Agreement with H. J. Umbaugh and Associates to perform a Water Rate and Cost of Service Study. This would also authorize accounting services in the event we borrow money for a bond issue for capital improvement projects in the Water Division. The not to exceed amount for the Cost of Service and Rate Study is $40,000. The not to exceed amount for the bond work is $35,000.

Mr. Dahlquist had compiled a list of capital improvement projects estimated at $3,850,154. Mr. Merriman said that the list was an only an estimate, because until the specifications were written and bids were received the actual costs will not be known. He said that H. J. Umbaugh would use the debt service based upon a bond issue of $3.58 million for developing the new rate. In addition, the Board would evaluate the new water rates to see what the impact would be before proceeding to borrow money. Then the capital improvements plan would be reassessed. Mr. Dahlquist had developed a substantial list of prioritized projects with the most pressing being top projects. The list held more projects and was a bit larger than the one being reviewed by the Board today.

The projects that were chosen to do first were projects that needed to be addressed the soonest. Mr. Merriman said that he was not asking the Board to approve the projects today. That would come later, along with the issuance of debt. Once the rate is developed, it is put onto a spreadsheet where it is easy to update the figures. For example, if the Debt Service would change from $300,000 annually to $200,000 annually due to a decision to eliminate some part of the work, it would be a simple task to change the figure to $200,000 on the spreadsheet and almost instantaneously, we would see what the new rate would become. It is a quite simple process.

Mr. Ward pointed out to Ms. Costin that the river crossings were included on the list of projects. She said she had noticed that and wondered what part of it was included in the Riverside Drive improvements. Mr. Merriman pointed out that it was not the same project. Mr. Merriman asked if there were any questions and noted that there were a lot more projects that needed updated.

Mr. Akers inquired about the 16-inch water line located underneath the Peru High School and wondered what the issues were in regard to it. Mr. Merriman said that if the water main should rupture, it could prove catastrophic to the high school structure. Mr. Ward asked if the project encompassed a reroute of the water main. Mr. Merriman said that the water line would be rerouted to Broadway and Daniel Street and then tied back into the existing main behind the Jr. High. Mr. Richter said that the issue at the time was the fact the area has a limestone subsurface. Mr. Merriman assumed that at the time it was too costly to reroute the line so it was constructed the way it is today. Mr. Richter stated that there was a tunnel constructed under the building, but it was too small to enter. Mr. Akers inquired as to what options they had at the time. Mr. Merriman said to reroute it as we are proposing. Mr. Merriman said it could break tonight or be there for the next 100 years. If you have ever seen just how much a 16-inch water line can spew, it is impressive and dangerous. Mr. Merriman stated he did not know where it ranked on the priority list. Mr. Merriman said that he was more concerned about the river crossings. Mr. Merriman said that the river crossings were more vulnerable because the pipe is exposed. Ms. Costin said that you could see the pipe when the water levels are low. Mr. Merriman said some years back a hole was accidently punched in the water line at Broadway, which melted the system down. Mr. Richter pointed out that the water lines under the Wayne Street Bridge have broken before. Mr. Merriman said that if one of the water mains crossing the Wabash River were to break when the river’s level is high, you would not be able to see a visible break. The only way it could be detected was when the system pressure drops to zero in the Water Filtration Plant. Ms. Costin inquired as to how something like that could be fixed. Mr. Merriman said that it would have to be valved off at both ends. Mr. Merriman said that if a water line breaks in a street or curb line you have water every place, so it is easy to find the break.

Mr. Ward made a motion to proceed with H. J. Umbaugh and Associates for the study. Mr. Richter seconded the motion.

Mr. Akers inquired if the Bond Issuance amount should be included in the motion. Mr. Merriman explained that right now he was only asking for a motion to employ the services of H. J. Umbaugh. A Bond Ordinance would be required later, which would need approval from the City Council. Mr. Merriman said that right now all that was needed was Board action to accept the recommendation. Mr. Ward asked if right now they were only approving the $40,000 amount and not the $35,000 amount. Mr. Merriman suggested that they only approve the $40,000 today. The Board would consider the $35,000 later.

Mr. Ward moved to amend his original motion with a substitute motion to proceed with H. J. Umbaugh and Associates to perform a Water Rate Study, not to exceed $40,000. Mr. Richter seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Merriman stated that he would get a revised Professional Service Agreement from Mr. Miller for the Water Rate Study only.





There being no further business to bring before the Board, Mr. Richter made a motion to adjourn. Ms. Costin seconded the motion. The meeting adjourned by unanimous consent.

Log in at the bottom of the page to post comments