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Hymera Town Council reinstates Cullison; raises water rates

Darrick Cullison

The Hymera Town Council approved the reinstatement of town marshal Darrick Cullison during its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday.
An out-of-court settlement from a lawsuit filed by Cullison against the town was reached last week between Cullison’s attorney, the town’s attorney and a Michigan-based insurance company representing the town of Hymera.
“He is officially back as town marshal,” council president James Enstrom said.
More details on this news and the rest of Tuesday’s meeting will be available in Thursday’s Times.
Monday’s special meeting
Hymera water customers will soon experience first-hand the theory of trickle down economics.To wit, the Hymera Town Council passed an ordinance approving a rate hike for its water customers in a special meeting on Monday.
Following a brief public hearing, the council — James Enstrom, Gary Enstrom and Carl Samm — were in agreement to pass the ordinance.
“For a minimum bill, you’ll get about a $6 increase on your bill … That’s for sewage and everything,” council president James Enstrom said.
“Trickle down” refers to the confluence of the following factors:
• The Indiana Department of Environmental Management mandated the City of Jasonville to find a new source of water.
• The City of Jasonville raised its water rates late last year.
• The town of Hymera buys its water from Jasonville, which, in turn, passed on its added cost to its water customers.
“Back on November 30, 2015, I attended a meeting over in Jasonville which passed an ordinance to raise their water rates,” Enstrom said. “Which included us, of course. That almost doubled (the town’s) rates. So, we didn’t really have any choice in the matter.”
A rate study was conducted by Umbaugh at a cost of $950, which the newly formed council approved at its organizational meeting in January.
During a public hearing portion at Monday’s meeting, the first question from a resident was an obvious one: How much of an increase?
“The new minimum bill if you’re on sewage will be $69.86,” Enstrom said.
The breakdown of this minimum rate, based on 2,000 gallons of usage, is $25.94 (water), $42.10 (sewage) and $1.82 (tax). The sewage rate is unchanged.
The second obvious question from a resident during the public hearing: When will this (increase) become effective?
“Effective as soon as we sign these papers (the ordinance),” Enstrom said.
“Your next bill,” clerk-treasurer Nicole Hall added.
Enstrom said the town had to start paying the new Jasonville rate on Jan. 1.
“We should have had (the rate increase) in effect before then,” he said. “But, with the time involved, we couldn’t do it. We had to absorb the first month’s (increase) and take it out of the (cash) reserves.”
The catalyst of this chain of events is Jasonville being in the process of a two-phase water project that includes abandoning its current well field and creating a new one, drilling four new wells.

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