Cannelton prepares floodwall-repair plan

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By Kevin Koelling, Managing Editor

CANNELTON - The Bernardin-Lochmueller engineering firm is pre-paring a plan for repairs to the floodwall in Cannelton, responding to a quick-turnaround demand from the Army Corps of Engineers.

As The News reported Nov. 15, Cannelton officials were given 60 days to come up with a plan to repair that city's section of the floodwall, then a year to complete the work, according to Floodwall Custodian Jerry Ball.

The Evansville-based engineering firm, Bernardin, Lochmueller and Associates, is willing to conduct a study of the wall and prepare a recommendation for repairs for $5,000, city attorney Bill Shaneyfelt said at a meeting of the city's board of public works and safety Dec. 11.

The works board, and in a council meeting that followed, the council approved the expenditure. Shaneyfelt said in the later meeting Clerk-Treasurer Mary Snyder had been in touch with the Indiana 15 Regional Planning Council, whose director said a grant to cover 75 percent of repair costs may be available from the federal Department of Homeland Security.

The engineering firm was prepared to complete the study and make its recommendations within 21 days, the lawyer said.

Bernardin and Lochmueller Engineer Matt Rueff was at Tuesday's meeting and gained city officials' approval of an addendum to a storm-sewer-study agreement they signed last month.

Additional services added to the original plan bumped the $33,000 previously approved by $10,000, but $9,000 of the increase could be funded by the state's Office of Community and Rural Affairs, Rueff said. The works board approved the additional $1,000.

They also approved a contract offered by the Troy Township assessor to provide fire-protection services for $8,000, a $500 increase over last year's cost.

The council meeting was opened with a public hearing in which Jeff Pruitt, now with the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana, reported a grant application to fund storm-sewer work was unsuccessful. The hearing was necessary to submit another application, whose deadline is March 14 and will result in grant awards in May.

Mayor Melvin McBrayer said he was disappointed about not securing the grant, but Pruitt said no first-time projects were funded. "That's very unusual," he said.

The application will cover three projects, Rueff said, one identified by a study of the city's stormwater system and two to remedy flash flooding. One needed repair, the engineer said is a rehabilitation of the forced main delivering sanitary sewage to Tell City for processing.

The cost for all three portions is estimated at $384,000, of which an OCRA grant would cover $345,000. The city's required 10-percent match would come from sewer-department and Economic Development Income Tax funds.

In response to a question from councilman-elect Adam Goffinet, Pruitt said it's thought submitting the three projects in one application will increase chances of success.

A question from new city resident Carolyn Barr was answered by Rueff, who said projects covered in the application were the highest priorities identified in a master plan for sanitary-sewer work.

"There are other issues for the city to face," he said. "This paves the way for those other issues."

In other business, the council approved an elected-officials-salaries ordinance that reflected no changes from last year. They also renewed an agreement with the city's electric department concerning the $25,500 the city still owes on its expanded fire station. A funds-transfer ordinance they approved, which included the $5,000 for the floodwall study, had to be carried over to a special meeting they scheduled for Dec. 21 because Steve Bennett and Dale Duke were absent. Without a full council, Shaneyfelt said, the ordinance could not be adopted in the meeting where it was introduced.

Mary K. Young submitted her resignation as the city's building inspector, prompting McBrayer to say, "I appreciate all of the work you've done the last four years. A lot of good came out of it."