An informational meeting regarding the proposed sewer district for Tippecanoe-Chapman Regional Sewer District will be at 1 p.m. Saturday in North Webster Community Center gym, 301 N. Main St.
Residents within the proposed sewer district boundaries received an invitation in the mail. Residents near the lakes, as well as the public, are encouraged to come to the meeting as well.
The meeting is a required component of the district’s petition to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. Saturday’s session will begin with county attorney Chad Miner making introductions of key personnel, followed by a detailed presentation by Ken Jones of the engineering firm Jones Petrie Rafinski.
Among other things, Jones will outline the district boundaries. Since the initial proposal for the district, the boundaries have grown smaller, leaving out outlying areas near the lakes and excluding Oswego from the district altogether.
Following the presentation, there will be a time for public questions and comments. It is possible there will be a time limit for individual speakers in order to allow everyone who wishes to speak the opportunity to do so.
After the meeting, which is expected to last about two hours, Jones and Miner said they will stay and answer questions about individual home situations. Staff members from Jones Petrie Rafinski, who have worked on the project, will answer questions after the end of the official meeting.
Jones said the purpose of the meeting is to collect public input. The meeting will be recorded, and a synopsis of speaker comments will be sent to IDEM along with the rest of the application for the district.
Miner said county officials appreciate the gravity of Saturday’s session.
“The county understands the importance of this matter and is deeply committed to making the best possible decision after giving thoughtful consideration to the present and future needs of all of those who will be impacted,” Miner said.
“Additionally, the county takes its responsibility to inform, educate and involve the public very seriously and is hopeful that (Saturday’s) public meeting will provide a valuable opportunity to those who would like to share their thoughts or learn more.”
Opponents of the sewer district have met, and are likely to speak at Saturday’s meeting. But no vote on whether to drop the petition is possible at that meeting.
Miner said the process for stopping the sewer district is outlined by Indiana code.
“(The code) basically states that those opposed to the project would have 180 days (from the day that the petition to establish is filed with IDEM) to file with IDEM a petition signed by a majority of property owners within the proposed district and opposing establishment of the district, and that the filing of such a petition would result in IDEM treating the petition to establish as void and not sufficient,” Miner said.
After Saturday, Miner said the county governing bodies would have to approve the petition to form the regional sewer district. He said he wasn’t sure if county commissioners would vote on it, then (if approved) send it to the county council for a vote, or if the bodies would hold a joint session to address the matter.
Either way, the county is not permitted to file the petition for the district until 30 days after Saturday’s meeting, according to Miner, meaning the earliest possible date to submit to IDEM would be Oct. 29.