Christian Andis sworn in

New firefighter Christian Andis gets sworn in at the Washington City Council meeting by Mayor David Rhoads.

The city of Washington introduced an ordinance Monday night that would free up money to help cover the cost of a project that will help reduce the amount of phosphorus being put in the sewer systems.

While the ordinance won’t be voted on until the city council’s Feb. 24 meeting, John Seever from Baker Tilley and Chris Janak from Bose McKinney were on hand to explain what the ordinance entails — essentially refinancing the 2009 and 2010 sewage works revenue bonds.

Janak said unlike homeowners who head to the bank to get a loan, cities borrow money in the form of bonds.

“The proposed plan is in regard to the phosphorus project,” said Seever, who said without the project, the city would not be able to renew its permits with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. “The city received a $700,000 grant from OCRA (Office of Community and Rural Affairs) so they still need $1.2 million to complete the project.”

By refinancing the bonds, the city would by able to free up the money and apply it to the cost of the project.

“This will create money to fund the project without having to do more bonds,” said Seever, who said refinancing those bonds will not extend their length. “It’s a fortunate moment in time that we have interest rates low enough for you to do this.”

There’s still a process to be able to refinance those bonds.

“Introducing the bond ordinance is the fourth step,” said Janak. “A vote will happen at the next meeting then we will go through ratings and finally marketing the bonds.”

It will be quick turnaround as the city hopes to advertise the project in March and start construction in April.

“We thought this was the best way to do the project,” said Mayor David Rhoads.

During the Board of Public Works and Safety meeting, the decision was made to approve utility write-offs totaling around $39,000. Utilities Office Manager Stacie Anderson said $12,00 of that was from an accident involving one of the Indiana Department of Transportation’s contractors. INDOT, Anderson said, would not pay the claim.

The board also approved a request from the Travis Burkhart Foundation to close a portion of Memorial Avenue from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 6 for the annual 5K. The closure would be for about four to five hours while runners and walkers make their way around Eastside Park.

Washington Catholic Schools also received approval to paint a large cardinal, the school’s mascot, in the intersection of Northeast Second and Hefron Street.

City Street Commissioner Brian Sergesketter said he would help get the school in contact with a vendor that could provide road-quality paint.

A second request from the schools, to make a no parking zone in the student drop off area at the elementary and preschool, was tabled until the next meeting so that city officials had more time to look at the area and decide what would work best.

Wanting to get on the paving schedule as soon as possible so work can begin sooner, the board also accepted E&B Paving’s bids.

“We have a lot of paving we’d like to get scheduled,” said Rhoads.

Board members also approved an agreement with Osmose Utilities Services, Inc., to handle inspection of the city’s utility poles. The city has approximately 1,000 poles and the company inspect. Osmose would then inform the city about which poles need to be replaced.

Signs were also a topic of discussion during the meeting including the recent addition of a three-way stop at Biddinger Land and Viola Avenue.

Rhoads said he hasn’t heard of any complaints about the new signage but it is something people will have to get used to.

“It’s one of those things that will take a little time to get used to,” said Rhoads, who said signage had not been in that area before.

After approval from the board, the signs will remain in place.

Prior to the start of the meetings Christian Andis was also sworn in as the latest member of the city fire department. Andis is a second generation fire fighter. His father, Barry Andis, is also a fire fighter for the city.

The city council and board of public works and safety will meet again at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 24.

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