Utility Board Hears Update on Zoning Changes, Approves Salary Ordinance Change

The Jasper Utility Board may soon be a part of the city of Jasper’s effort to update its zoning ordinances.

Last night, the board heard a presentation from Jasper mayor Terry Seitz and director of community development and planning Darla Blazey on the city’s ongoing review of the master plan as it pertains to the zoning and subdivision control ordinances. The presentation was specifically geared towards the utilites and how they can become involved in the process.

Utilities general manager Bud Hauersperger says the review of the ordinances will bring some clarity to everything as far as the role played by the utility departments in zoning:

The last time that the city reviewed and updated the zoning ordinances was 1993. Hauersperger says the changes would encompass all types of zones, such as commercial, industrial, and residential. Ultimately last night, the board approved further studying the role of utilities in city zoning ordinances going forward.

Also last night, the board formally approved a resolution to amend the 2013 salary ordinance to reflect a recent restructuring of departments. Last month, the board approved the combining of the water and gas departments following several retirements in both departments. Hauersperger says the changes were made in order to make things run more smoothly:

The combination of departments and the related salary ordinance now must be approved by the Jasper Common Council before they can be implemented.

Finally last night, utility board chairman Wayne Schuetter read and released a prepared statement on the decision by Dr. Norma Kreilein and Healthy Dubois County to reject the city’s recent settlement offer for the ongoing litigation concerning the city’s power plant. In the statement, Schuetter says the city is disappointed that Kreilein and Healthy Dubois County were not willing to discuss the differences in the settlement that they offered versus the settlement that the city offered. Schuetter further stated the city maintains its position that it did not violate the Open Door Law during meetings held for the lease of the plant, which was ultimately leased to Twisted Oak Corporation to be converted to a biomass plant. Finally, Schuetter said in the statement that the city and the utility board remain open to discussing a reasonable settlement with Kreilein and Healthy Dubois County. Schuetter declined further comment following the meeting.

Other notes from last night’s meeting included the opening of six bids for the 3rd Avenue Water Main Replacement Project (which the board took under advisement at last night’s meeting) and an update on the work on the spillway at Beaver Lake.