Pictured (L to R) are Veteran of the Month Raymond Hartman and Kosciusko County Commissioner Bob Conley. Photo by Jordan Fouts, Times-Union
Pictured (L to R) are Veteran of the Month Raymond Hartman and Kosciusko County Commissioner Bob Conley. Photo by Jordan Fouts, Times-Union
County Commissioners this morning approved a preliminary engineering report for an overhaul of the Turkey Creek Regional Sewer District system, but balked at the $1.7 million projected cost.
The cost would cover work such as replacing valves and pipes and filtering water-discoloring iron out of the system. The work is necessary because, at around 50 years old, much of the system is near or past the end of its life, said Brian Houghton with Jones and Henry Engineers Ltd., which prepared the report.
The cost averages out to a $74,000 responsibility for each of the system’s 230 users. The project would require a combination of grants and loans for funding, and the district would prefer to fund it without raising rates from $24 a month to $35, Houghton said.
The report itself will be funded through a $30,000 Community Development Block Grant. It was presented this morning during a public hearing, along with a financial report that commissioners signed.
Before approving the engineering report as part of the grant application process, commissioners wanted to make it clear that they weren’t committing to the project itself.
“Those numbers are startling,” Commissioner Bob Conley remarked  before the vote. “I’m not a mathematician,  I cut hair, but $74,000 per household seems awfully high.”
The sewer district agrees, Houghton indicated, and hasn’t committed to any work itself. But Shannon McCleod with grant administrator Priority Project Resources Inc. said the cost is accurate based on what she’s seen in 20 years.
Also this morning, commissioners approved Highway Superintendent Scott Tilden’s recommendation for two replacement dump trucks based on bids received  during the June 17 meeting. He recommended the purchase of two 2015 Western Star trucks from Stoops Freightliner of New Haven for $294,148, after the trade-in of the department’s 1983 and 1994 models.
And commissioners recognized 89-year-old Raymond Hartman, a World War II “human computer,” as veteran of the month. Hartman was drafted during his senior year at Leesburg High School and left for boot camp after graduating and just two weeks after marrying his school sweetheart, Marilyn McCann.
He served in the Headquarters Battery  879th Field Artillery Battalion, 69th Division, as a “human computer” calculating firing solutions for 105mm howitzers. He was present for the end of the Battle of the Bulge and was sent to meet up with Russian forces at the Elbe River.
He served in the reserves for nine years after returning from Europe, and retired in 1987 after 40 years as a Kosciusko REMC lineman.