WASHINGTON — The Daviess County Commissioners and Daviess-Martin REMC are at odds over utility relocations for the Odon-Cannelburg Road project.
Described at Monday’s county commissioner meeting, the utility is asking the commissioners to pay half of the utility’s bill of $135,345 for moving utility lines on CR 900E
The reason, according to engineer Dominic Romano, County Highway Supervisor Phil Cornelius and Commissioner Tony Wichman, was the utility did not agree with the project.
“They just said this project is not a benefit to them,” Romano said. “They said they did not request this project, so why should they have to spend their money. Of course this would have been avoided if they would have not placed their poles in (the county’s) right-of-way.”
Cornelius said if the utility had easements on its lines and poles, REMC would be eligible for reimbursement from state and federal funds. But some of the poles along the road do not have easements.
Total costs to move REMC’s lines is estimated at $171,758. The Indiana Department of Transportation ruled that because of the easement issue, only 21.2 percent, or $36,412, was eligible for reimbursement from state and federal funds. The county was asked to pay $7,282 of that cost due to the project agreement.
Romano, Cornelius and Wichman met with leaders of REMC last week to discuss the issue. It was at the meeting where the utility proposed splitting the remaining $135,345 to move the lines. They also requested the 50/50 split be for future utility movements along the road.
The county is not under any legal obligation to pay for moving the poles. Other utilities have paid for their own relocations or have easements to pay for the relocation.
“It’s just unfortunate,” Cornelius said. “We met with them in the beginning of 2011, at that time (REMC) said they had easements. If you have easements, that’s great. You will get full reimbursement in the federal process.”