Town of DeMotte

DEMOTTE — The Town of DeMotte is pursuing a plan to bring water and perhaps sewer to the I-65/SR 10 corridor. There is a small sewer utility plant west of the highway that is interested in accommodating businesses along SR 10 in that area of Jasper and Newton County.

At a previous board meeting, the council learned that facility didn’t have the capacity to handle sewer for the rest area north of SR 10 on I-65, just east of the county line. The town council wondered if it could bring that service along with water to the rest area and to businesses in the area.

With this new information, the town’s engineer, Daryl Knip, told the council the utility plant has made some recent improvements and are now looking into providing their services to the new truck stop being built on the west side of the interstate. Knip said he told the sewer utility company the town was not interested in relinquishing service to that area; however, he said that company can petition the state for that territory.

He was asked if it would be a “big deal” to bore under I65 to take sewer and/or water service to the west side of the highway. Knip said it is not now, and he said they could provide these services to the businesses east of the interstate, Loves, TA, Speedway.

Town Manager Heather Tokarz said they would first have to look at the financial side of it before making a consideration. Board member Mark Boer said over time, there would be a gain as that area continues to grow. Tokarz said she is working with the Jasper County Economic Development office to see what assistance they could give for such project.

In other business, the council asked about vendors and food trucks coming into town. A new sweet corn vendor has been selling corn on the corner of Halleck St. and Division, and Tokarz said food trucks are setting up shop because so many festivals and fairs have been cancelled. She said farmers need to file for a special exception to set up sales along the town streets. “We’re looking for guidance on that,” she said, since it’s too late for them to do that this year.

Attorney Emily Waddle said transient merchants should register with the town hall, and if not, they are in violation of town codes. Those selling sweet corn at that corner should have done that. Darlene DeVries, who is a summer fixture in town selling sweet corn and homegrown vegetables, had applied for the special exception as required.

Boer said he didn’t want people parking on the highway to purchase goods from the vendors. Waddle suggested they set a parameter so there aren’t three or four corn sellers at the same time. She suggested the council could ask the merchant farmers fill out a form for the special exception, waive the $100/day fee, and get approval. “We want to be safe on Halleck St.,” she said.

The council voted to allow the local farmers to sell their produce on a temporary basis, but they must apply at the town hall and be approved for the location they wish to set up. Farmers will also need to prove they are from the area to receive the fee waiver.

The requirements for food trucks will remain according to the town codes.