By CANDY NEAL
HUNTINGBURG — A curb in front of Steinkamp Home Center that was replaced following water main work is too high for semi-trucks to get across.
The curb needs to be lowered to where it was before the work was done, Councilman Glenn Kissling explained to the Huntingburg Common Council Tuesday.
When the water line was installed along U.S. 231 in front of Steinkamp’s, the low curb there was replaced. But it was not put back in at that same height, Kissling said.
“It was approved by the state to be put back as it was for the driving entrance off the highway,” he said. “When it got put back, it was put in as a full 4-inch curb.”
That is causing a problem for the many semis that come to and from the facility and its scales.
“What’s happening is that when the semis come in, they can’t make the turn; it’s such a narrow street. So they’re dragging their trailers up on the curb, and it’s tearing up trucks and trailers,” Kissling said. “And when they’re exiting the scales, they’re jumping the 4-inch curb to get on the highway.”
Kissling said he checked with the state to see if it would consider raising the blacktop when paving work is done on the state highway. “They wouldn’t do that because of the cost of blacktop,” he said. “They suggested to either tear the curb out or grind it down.”
City Street Superintendent Jason Stamm checked into the cost for grinding down the curb, which is the cheapest solution; the estimate is $1,200.
Who would cover the bill was up for discussion. Since the curb was done as part of the water main project, covering the cost would be between the water department and Steinkamp’s. The council would have to consider approving the repair cost on behalf of the water department since the council is also the city utility service board.
The Huntingburg Board of Public Works and Safety suggested that the city cover the entire cost. City Attorney Phil Schneider said the council should consider if it would want to set a precedent by doing that, Mayor Steve Schwinghamer relayed to the board. Kissling explained that as part of the agreement, Steinkamp’s was to pay for the costs up to the curb and the water department was to pay the rest.
Councilman Steve McPherron said he would be fine with the city footing the entire bill. “Steinkamp’s is a member of the community. I think there is a lot of intangible things that Steinkamp’s has done for the city, its residents, just the community in general,” he said. “It’s 600 bucks. I don’t know if this is worth an argument…If it was $12,000, then I might have a different thought.”
Councilman Tim Wehr said someone should look into the matter to make sure that the bid specifications for the curb were followed and that the contractor did not make a mistake. “I’d to hate to take the money out of the water department if it’s [the fault of] whoever put the curbing in,” he said. “It’s not the water department, and I’m not saying it’s Steinkamp’s fault.”
The council agreed to fund the repair and directed Water Superintendent Jerry Austin to check the bid specs for the project. Kissling abstained from the vote.
The council also:
• Passed a resolution recognizing the Southridge baseball team’s season and state championship and congratulated the team. The resolution will be framed and given to the team during a celebration happening Sunday at League Stadium, Schwinghamer said.
• Agreed with Councilman Jeff Bounds’ request that signage about the railroad bypass be placed on U.S. 231 south of State Road 64 so that northbound traffic can see it. Bounds said that northbound drivers, especially those who are not familiar with the city, may not be aware of the railroad bypass before they reach the train tracks. Bounds has talked to drivers sitting at the tracks waiting for a long train to pass, and found that most of them have been people who live out of town, he explained. Councilman Tim Wehr added that bypass signage for westbound traffic on the State Road 64 would also be helpful. Schwinghamer said he will give those suggestions to the team that is designing way-finding signs for the city; he meets with that group on Thursday.
• Started for a second time the process of appropriating to the Huntingburg Public Library $1.8 million the library board has been saving to make improvements to the library. The Indiana Department of Local Government Finance found an error in the original appropriation documents, which meant that the process has to be redone. A public hearing about the appropriation will be held at the council’s July 13 meeting.
• Gave Energy Superintendent John Reutepohler permission to get quotes for a new supervisory control and data acquisition, or SCADA, system.
• Gave Reutepohler permission to spend $16,900 to purchase wooden poles to replenish the electric department’s supply.
• Told Reutepohler to get quotes for replacing garage doors and purchasing electric and gas trucks.
• Approved the water department purchasing programming software for the plant from Toric Engineering for $8,400.
• Approved the certificate of substantial completion for work done on the water plant.
• Vacated 115 feet of South Sycamore Street just north of Second Avenue.
• Approved the design standards and construction manual for the city. The Huntingburg Board of Public Works and Safety has already approved them.
• Approved Clerk-Treasurer Tom Dippel’s request to move funding around in the 2021 budget so that no major budget area goes into the negative; this is something that is typically done each year.
• Agreed to hire someone in the utility office who will be trained on the job before another utility employee retires.
• Thanked Huntingburg resident Phyllis Menke for donating picture frames for Old Town Hall and accepted the donation.