Warsaw Board of Public Works and Safety Friday approved a reduction to a sewer bill.
Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer made the motion, seconded by Jeff Grose, board member, for Chad Zartman to be billed for sewer from June 2013 when the apartment building at 423 E. Arthur St., owned by Zartman, was inhabited until November when a fire occurred.
The city was unaware of a fifth apartment in the building until it was destroyed by a fire.
Zartman had only been billed for four apartments since he purchased the property Aug. 16, 2011.
Zartman asked for the sewage payment reduction because he only had rented the apartment for a few months before the fire took place.
The total amount Zartman will be required to pay is $195.60.
Charlie Smith, board member, voted against reducing the reduction and said he felt Zartman should have been aware he was being backbilled.
The amount Zartman was being underbilled was $880.20.
Zartman attended the meeting and requested the backbilled amount be lowered.
Thallemer said a lot of the backbilled sewer bill discrepancies the city is finding go back into the ’90s when software was changed and the data had to be entered by hand.
“A lot of the discrepancies occurred when the data was transferred, and for whatever reason if there were five apartment units in that house, for whatever reason, it became four by a stroke of a computer key,” Thallemer said.
Thallemer said not charging Zartman for the apartment sewer fee was a clerical error.
“This is the primary reason the city is trying to look at a rental registration and trying to be able to come up with a valid and fair number of units for everyone,” Thallemer said.
He said this will help the sewage department so they don’t have to rely on old records from 15 to 20 years ago and so the fire department knows the occupancy amounts.
“This is a classic example of why the city needs to have a rental registration program,” Thallemer said.
In other business, the board:
• Approved a $11,225.40 payment for engineering services to A & Z Engineering, Fort Wayne, for the Husky Trail road improvement project.
• Approved Warsaw Police Department participating with Winona Lake Police Department in applying for a $54,000 grant.
It is a grant that pays officers overtime to enforce Indiana law for those not wearing safety belts, impaired driving and child restraint violations.
Warsaw’s portion will be $12,000. The grant is through the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
• Approved WPD applying for a $25,000 grant that will allow law enforcement agencies to combat impaired driving. WPD’s portion will be $7,000.
• Approved a contract with Homestead Auctions for a city auction Aug. 23 at 9:30 a.m. at WPD.
• Approved a $15,000 contract with Jones & Henry Engineers for engineering service agreement for site visits to the Center Street pump station that was demolished.
• Approved a $11,065.56 payment from Dalton. Dalton needs sewage treatment of up to 10,000 gallons per month, and its needs will be reserved by Warsaw.
• Approved a $29,119 contract with Lakeside Chevrolet for an animal control truck.
• Approved a $22,581.60 contract with Graycraft Signs for a digital sign at city hall.