Berne change saves money

    Acting upon the recommendation of the state auditor's office, Berne City Council changed its process for the purchase of two discharge pumps for the city's waste water treatment plant. And the move ended up saving the city a substantial sum of money.
    Terry Kongar, waste water supervisor for the city, told council members at their April 23 meeting that each of the city's two pumps currently in use — a main and a backup — recently were down for repairs and were in desperate need of replacement. The new pumps are used to discharge water from the treatment plant to the Wabash River.
    Council originally had planned to buy two pumps outright from the Peerless Midwest firm, but state auditor's currently working in the office of clerk-treasurer Gwen Maller suggested that two quotations should be obtained before the purchase was finalized. 
    The Berne Board of Public Works sought and received two quotes for the pump purchase — one from Peerless for $30,988; the other from Wright Repairs for $44,148. The Peerless bid was some $7,000 lower than the firm's original planned purchase price. Council voted unanimously to accept the Peerless bid.
    Berne officials during the past week also learned that funds still remaining in a state revolving loan fund sewer grant obtained previously by the city can be used to pay for the new pumps. Mayor Bill McKean said the fund still contains some $83,000, which must be used by this fall on other sewer projects throughout the city.

    In limited other business at Monday's meeting, McKean said the city is taking the initial steps to implement a transition plan to bring Berne into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The federally-mandated compliance plan requires the city to address sidewalks, buildings and other public spaces and to allocate resources to implement "reasonable accommodations" for handicapped persons, said City Attorney Jim Beitler.
    Council members also learned that a home on Jefferson Street that had been targeted under the city's new unsafe building ordinance has been sold and will be torn down within the next six weeks. Larry and Cindy Sprunger purchased the property and have told city officials they plan to clean up the site.