To the editor:
On May 15, 2017, behind closed doors, the Nashville Town Council drew up an ordinance that “claimed” Firecracker Hill in its entirety as a service area for the Nashville water municipal utility. This is the area where Big Woods purchased 95 acres and rezoned it to general business.
The town had offered a compromise to the Brown County Water Utility (BCWU) to pay more for the water they would purchase for the Big Woods proposed new development, and on May 22, 2017, a response was due from the BCWU regarding Firecracker Hill and the water service. But before this could occur, Ed Ryan of the Big Woods grouping of companies signed a water and sewer connection agreement with the town, a mere four days after the closed-door council meeting occurred.
Ben Phillips, speaking for the BCWU, said they had taken out $8.1 million in loans from the Indiana Finance Authority, with aid from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to replace water lines and towers. That work is nearly complete, but the loans are not repaid. (All these statements and facts were reported May 23, 2017, in the Brown County Democrat.)
Ninety-five percent of the water the town sells to its customers is bought from BCWU!
So now the town has filed a petition (assumedly via the town attorney) to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to establish a service area on Firecracker Hill, in essence, to “OK” the shady deal they made behind closed doors and agreement with Ed Ryan (Big Woods) and to take the water service from Brown County Water Utility.
So, your town and county officials are once again in opposition over services to a business, and not considering you, the taxpayer who will foot the bill for their ignorance. You will see the increase in your water rates, and be paying attorney’s fees to work this situation out. Additionally, more special favors are granted to a business that has already seen more than its share of special favors.
I would ask you to consider these questions: Do we really need a big distillery and brewery (10,000-square-foot racking building for alcohol, 24,000 gallons of beer produced) to sit overlooking our town? Do our town or county water utilities even consider you and I, and our ability to pay for their closed-door business deals? Do we even need two water providers in a county of 15,000 people?
If you come to the same conclusions I do on these questions, I encourage you to vote out the members of the town council, the county council and the county commissioners in the elections next year. And demand an evaluation of members of the APC and RDC. And, I would welcome you to join me in opposition to the Big Woods proposed project on Firecracker Hill.
This development has gone too far, and our elected officials have allowed it to be so.
Tricia Bock, Nashville
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