Saturday, May 27, 2006

Give Me Liberty or... $55,000 an Acre!

Mr. Andres has written:

"When a Town submits a proposal for bonds it needs to show how those bonds will be repaid. This includes a cash flow chart that shows when and where will the money come from and when will it be paid off. Revenue sources need to be shown, and in the case of the sewer the only revenue sources are 'connection' and 'user' fees. If you show that there will be XXX number of customers that will be providing that revenue you then need to provide a contract to collect those fees."

And, indeed, so the town officials did.

They have accumulated a large debt for people in St. Leon and people within the jurisdiction of St. Leon but who do not having voting rights in St. Leon. Yes, we know that it is legal. These folks included property owners who did not need, did not want and for some could not afford the connection fee, the cost of the grinder pump, the excavating cost to lay a pipe from the owners house to the sewer line, the continuing sewer service fees and the probable increased water fees. People will be and are forced to service their grinder pump, regardless of the weather, regardless of their own health.

The questions still are why was this done, why was there an additional one Million dollar 2003 extension of the system in 2003 and why is there now a plan for a 4 to 5 Million dollar plan for the extension of the St. Leon sewer plant.

The sewer plant representative mentioned that at present there the sewage plan has an available facility for over 1000 new connections. That is a lot of connections and a lot of money for the sewer board account and for the operators of the sewage system. 1000 connections might indicate 1000 more houses build in our area. What else could it signify?

One can wonder if this sewer system was instituted for the enrichment of a few via the coerced connections of neighbors and citizens of this county where the median income is but 43,000 dollars a year. This is shameful.

The Dearborn County Development Economic Development website has a list of some properties for sale as industrial sites. There is a parcel of land along I-74 of a little over 20 acres advertised a having utilities and being sewer serviced. The land is offered at 55 thousand dollars an acre. If it is all sold the owner will harvest over 1 million dollars. The name of the owner is Andres. I have no idea whether it is our Mr. Andres, relatives of his or someone from an entirely different family. Perhaps it is one of those strange coincidences.

Now it is conceivable that the Town of St.Leon's officials find the costs referred to above as insignificant. They are business men, and entrepreneurs. However there are property owners affected by this sewage system who find it a heavy and needless burden. Again, it is shameful.

The actual mechanics or plan of the system is really not pertinent except for the fact that Mr. Andres mentions that there had been "some inconsistency in the original installation that was causing then system to operate inefficiently and would have caused serious problems down the road." Well, what's this all about? This reads a bit like a euphemism, a whitewash? Who was responsible for this "inconsistency," were they insured for their "inconsistency" or do the coerced citizens have to pay for the correction of this "inconsistency"?

Now Mr. Andres has mentioned that when bonds are issued in a town's name the integrity of the town is at stake. Well,unfortunately the integrity of the town of St. Leon is a laughing matter since a TV program aired and a newspaper described a chaotic St. Leon meeting during which a respected elected town official was quoted as saying to a police officer "throw him out before I knock him out."

What is more important, the town's former integrity if there was such a thing or the financial viability of our friends and neighbors?

A default on these bonds would bring in a fresh, disinterested receiver who'd put the proper perspective on this muddled situation.

An alternative would be for the state or federal government to buy back the bonds and put and end to this nonsense. The amount of money involved to the state or federal government would be insignificant. However the Honorable John Nugent and the Honorable Bob Bishoff show no interest in helping and neither does our esteemed United States Senator Dick Lugar.

It seems that all elected officials want this burden placed upon our citizens. It is so easy for politicians to put the responsibility for their actions upon the citizens.

I still wonder who urged the elected officials to take on this enormous debt and the impending debt which is causing so much angst and anxiety among our friends and neighbors. Was it at the urging of housing development companies, sewage operating companies, companies who sell products to sewage system operators? Who?

Alan Stanley Freemond, Sr.

Jackson Township

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