Staff writer

FORT BRANCH— Fort Branch Town Council discussed ways to correct storm water inflow in the town’s sanitary sewer system Wednesday night.

North and south sides of town are the critical areas affected by inflow.

A north end project (Boyles Ditch System) will drain water to a ditch and the south end project (Central Drainage System) will discharge water to an existing storm sewer crossing the railroad, to natural watersheds.

Carol Hagedorn, Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana community development vice president, said these projects are top priority and believe they could reduce standing water.

Former Town Council president and storm water board member Tom Wallace said the project could cost between $850,000 to $900,000.

The council’s seeking a Community Development block rant and needs community income surveys completed and returned as a grant application requirement. The deadline for the application is June 30.

Hagedorn said about 70 of 135 surveys distributed were completed and returned. The next step will be door-to-door delivery. If that doesn’t work, they will send out another mailing. “It takes less than five minutes to fill it out,” she said.

If the town qualifies for the $500,000 state grant, the community will have use of $100,000 in Patoka-Union Township Tax Increment Finance District funds for local match requirements.

Hagedorn said since the town is only implementing a monthly $3 storm water fee, they may only get minimum points towards the grant. If the board had a $5 monthly storm water fee, they could get more points toward the grant.

Clerk Treasurer Stacy Elpers reported $27,466.23 in the storm water fund, which collects about $3,600 a month in fees.

Wallace said he wants citizens to understand that they assessed the storm water fee to address storm water issues and to apply for the grant, rather than raise rates.

More discussion of the project is planned at 6 p.m. Feb. 17 at the senior/community center in Fort Branch.

Also Wednesday, council member Scott Michael was appointed to the storm water board.

Email quiche@pdclarion.com

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