Correction: Derrick Clarke will not be meeting with INDOT officials about the US 50/257 intersection. Clarke met with INDOT six years ago to discuss the safety of the intersection and what could be done to keep accidents from happening there. 

The city of Washington and Daviess County Rural Water have reached an apparent agreement that ends a long running legal dispute over rates. In 2016 the city approved a rate increase of 57 percent on Daviess County Rural Water and a 14.8 percent increase on all other non-city water customers.

The case wound up in the Indiana Supreme Court where the justices ruled against the 57 percent increase, but in favor of 14.7 percent hike.

“It all goes back to 2016,” said Mayor David Rhoads at Monday’s city council meeting. “It’s something Mayor (Joe) Wellman worked on and Tim Dant (city attorney) worked on.”

“This represents the extra fees that accrued during the litigation,” said Dant. “The court ruled against us on the larger increase but did grant a smaller increase. The problem is that while the litigation was pending, they didn’t pay any of the increase.”

The final payout should have Daviess County Rural Water sending $132,869.68 to the city.

“We did knock off the interest to get this settled,” said Rhoads. “It is good to get this off of the desk.”

The city’s board of public works and safety has approved the tentative agreement and given the mayor authorization to sign-off. The final documents are still being drawn up.

In other business in the board of public works meeting the board approved a number of promotions in the fire department.

“I retired in December,” said Rhoads, who had served as the chief of the city’s Fire Department. “In doing that the rank structure got moved around, and we are filling the slots.”

Steve Walden was promoted to fire chief. Shawn Gray was elevated from captain to battalion chief. Dwayne Murphy moves from lieutenant to captain and Chris Craig goes from firefighter to lieutenant. The changes were all made retroactive to Jan. 11. The fire department will also be adding a new firefighter later in the month. Christian Andis is scheduled to join the department on Jan. 25.

The Washington City Council heard a request from Derrick Clarke for support on his efforts to make the U.S. 50 Bypass and SR 257 intersection safer. 

Rhoads has agreed to send a letter to INDOT encouraging efforts to improve safety at the intersection.

Also, during the city council meeting the city approved spending $25,000 from an Office of Community and Rural Affairs grant as part of the final payment for the PACE Community Action Agency building addition on the city’s west side. The final bill totaled $152,000. PACE was paying for the rest of the bill with their funds.

“It’s a very nice building,” said Michelle Carrico with the Southern Indiana Development Commission, which assisted the city and PACE to obtain a $500,000 grant for the project. “They are not totally moved in. I believe they anticipate holding an open house in the next couple of months.”

The original price tag for the project was more than $1.3 million.

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