REMINGTON — Like many towns and cities in the area, Remington temporarily suspended utility shutoffs for the duration of the COVID-19 health emergency while encouraging people to stay current on their bill.
With the health emergency seemingly at its wind-down point, town officials discussed those unpaid utility bills and a payment plan to get residents caught up.
Town Manager, Jonathan Cripe said he believes Gov. Eric Holcomb’s orders state that repayment of unpaid utility bills must be set on a reasonable payment plan. With no further information, it is up to individual municipalities to come up with what they deem reasonable.
Upon discussion, the Town Council agreed that a reasonable plan would be for people to pay their current bill plus one-third of what is delinquent each month for the next three months. Upon the conclusion of the three-month period, the town will shut off utilities of any town resident whose bills are not paid in full.
“I foresee the township trustee being very busy in the upcoming weeks,” Cripe said. “We always share with residents that there are outside agencies that can provide assistance.”
Another action taken by the council was the unanimous passing of Ordinance of the Remington Town Council establishing procedures for tax abatement assessments. (Ordinance #2020-06-01-001)
This ordinance was one that Jasper County Economic Development Organization (JCEDO) is encouraging to be adopted by the Rensselaer, Remington, Wheatfield and DeMotte councils. The goal is to have all towns in Jasper County to be on a level playing field.
The ordinance essentially would make it easier for JCEDO to confidently convey what abatements they would be willing to offer. According to the scorecard that would be used for the county, there is an area for bonus points that towns can award companies to further entice them to develop in their community.
“I think it’s a great idea. It will allow the vender to know ahead of time what is expected of them,” Council President Susie Flickner said. “It will make it easier for our economic developer to confidently tell a business what we can offer them, and we can still have a healthy competitiveness.”
According to JCEDO Executive Director Stephen Eastridge, the tax abatement ordinance has been adopted by Jasper County and, now, Remington. DeMotte, Rensselaer and Wheatfield have not adopted it at this time.
“We will be engaging the other municipalities throughout the year with hopes that they adopt a similar ordinance by the end of 2020,” Eastridge said.
In other business:
• Council member Pat Berger gave an update as the Kankakee-Iroquois Regional Planning Commission (KIRPC) representative. Berger said Monon recently received a $119,000 splash pad grant, Wolcott is sponsoring a grant to build an extension to its library, and White County submitted an EDA for wastewater improvements to Mid-America Commerce Park. Planning grants have been suspended. OCRA has received $8 million to aid small businesses in long-term recovery due to the COVID-19 health crisis.
• The Remington splash pad is open but having technical difficulties. The pad is currently running 24/7 to allow the use of the equipment until a technician can return to do a more thorough examination. The town hopes to have the issues fixed within the coming weeks.
• The town will begin conducting interviews for an open street department position once the town hall is open to the public.