LAPEL, IN - The Lapel Town Council discussed the two proposals presented to them to have USDI take over running the Gas Company.
After a lengthy discussion, the Town Council voted 2 for and 2 against hiring USDI for approximately $30,000 a year plus a $5,000 setup fee to provide plans, reports, surveys, inspections and other functions for the Gas Company to the Town of Lapel.
Clerk/Treasurer Dennis Molina decided the vote by voting for effectively making it a 3 for and 2 against decision.
This plan is different from the proposed $130,000 per year proposal discussed at great length during the meeting at Town Hall a few days previously.
With the chosen plan, the Town would still need at least one gas employee and would be responsible for conducting day to day repairs and maintenance compared to the more expensive plan where USDI would take care of almost everything.
President Michael Cates commented that "We need to be up to standard on paperwork" and mentioned that any fines the Town might receive in future for not having paperwork correctly filed would greatly exceed the costs of hiring USDI.
Dave Taylor added "It is a small miracle we have not got into trouble yet".
Council members previously discussed the constant changes in regulations and training needed to keep on top of the Gas Company as one possible reason to have USDI handle it all. Although this line of thought seems to have largely been dismissed during the vote.
Michael Cates and Tony Pearson voted Yes to the $30,000 per year plan, while Deb Wainscott and Dave Taylor voted No. With Dennis Molina settling the split vote with a Yes vote. Lindsay Washmuth was absent due to illness.
The Gas Utility Rates in Lapel have not seen an increase since 1997 and it seems likely one is coming soon although not the additional $14 dollars per customer per month that would have come from choosing the $130,000 USDI option.
The Council also discussed hiring a new Gas employee with the long-term future of the current gas employee unknown due to illness. The Town Council agreed to hold a special meeting to discuss this.