WILMINGTON — Because it’s a nonprofit, commissioners will waive a sewer tap-in fee for a Habitat for Humanity house project in Midland, and the remaining question is whether they’ll also mark down the price of the installation by half.
At Wednesday’s appointment with Clinton County Habitat for Humanity representative Jim Krusling, Clinton County Commissioners President Kerry R. Steed recommended cutting the price of installing the sewer connection by 50 percent in addition to waiving the initial tap-in fees.
Immediately prior to making his recommendation, Steed said Habitat has been “a wonderful partner in Clinton County. You’ve provided homes that many families can build a future on.”
Habitat for Humanity partners with people to help them build or improve a place they can call home, states its website. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Presently, Clinton County Habitat for Humanity is building its 37th home.
Though the Board of Clinton County Commissioners have waived tap-in fees before to churches and a fire district, the current commissioners believe this would be the first time to also reduce the price of installation for a nonprofit.
The location of the Midland site will not enable a connection to the Martinsville-Midland Sanitary Sewer System by gravity, so the connection to the sanitary sewer system will require additional equipment, costing thousands more than a normal hook-up. The commissioners are the overseers of the sewer system, said Steed.
John Panetta, who operates and maintains the system, projected the installation cost for the Habitat house at $12,000 to $14,000. If commissioners decide to reduce the price of installation for Habitat, the offsetting funds would come from the Martinsville-Midland Sanitary Sewer Enterprise Fund, which has more than $300,000, according to Steed.
Steed said, “I truly believe that they [Habitat] are setting a new course of optimism and hope for these families. The more we can do in a situation where we’re able to help and which enables Habitat for Humanity to build a home slightly cheaper so they can put that money into another home, then I’m all for that.”
Clinton County Commissioners Patrick Haley and Brenda K. Woods both expressed support for waiving the tap-in fee. Haley said reducing the installation price “would be new territory” and he wanted to think about it a little bit more. Woods said she wasn’t expecting the recommendation to cut the installation price, and did not indicate which way she may vote Monday when commissioners return to the question.
In a separate discussion Wednesday, the county auditor and the county treasurer met with commissioners regarding which of their two offices should assemble the county’s annual disclosure filing report.
Clinton County Auditor Terence G. “Terry” Habermehl said his office has prepared the investment report for about four or five years. Prior to that, the Clinton County Treasurer’s Office completed the document, he said.
Habermehl said Wednesday he no longer has sufficient staffing to complete the report.
Clinton County Treasurer Jason Walt asked how much work is involved from a time standpoint, and Habermehl estimated 30 hours. Walt said he had texted the county’s legal counsel to see whether any statutes in law designate the project to a certain department, adding he is “a little concerned” about the additional work being put on the treasurer’s office.
Habermehl said his office staff will provide the treasurer’s office the necessary data handled by his office that’s needed for the report.
In the event the treasurer’s office is the department legally designated to do the report, Walt said, “If it falls on me, I’m absolutely going to take care of it.”
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.