Costs associated with the relocation of a section of piping for the geothermal system that will heat local schools and Lake District Hospital will be shared by the Town of Lakeview and Lake County.
Both governmental agencies discussed the matter during the Tuesday, Oct. 22, meeting of the Lake County Board of Commissioners. Following a recess and continuation of discussion that same afternoon, the Commissioners approved sharing the costs of relocating the pipe, which came in at $23,847.45.
The Town and County will share this cost in a 50-50 division. The Town submitted a request for the County to serve as a cooperating agency in resolving the pipe placement issue.
Commissioner Brad Winters noted time served as a factor in the project, given the expected placement of fiber optic cables in the area, and a desire to avoid splicing these cables.
Both entities met that morning, as the County raised concerns regarding the proximity of geothermal piping to the railroad right-of-way along a portion of the route between the production well and the town.
Mayor Mike Patrick, Town Mgr. Ray Simms and the Town’s attorney, John Bogardus, attended the meeting. The County’s attorney, Jim Bailey, participated via conference call.
The Commissioners’ concerns largely pertained to a potential increased in risk for derailment issues due to the pipe’s placement along the right-of-way.
Both the Town and County accepted mutual responsibility for what they agreed appeared as a misstep in the placement of the pipeline so close to the railroad.
Commissioner Ken Kestner said that the County received three of the four maps detailing the pipeline’s design.
The fourth and last page detailed the pipeline’s route near the railroad.
Town Mgr. Ray Simms acknowledged that the Town had submitted an incomplete application for the project to the County, but also said that the County should have sought out any additional information regarding the pipeline’s route near Kadrmas Road and the railroad.
Commissioner Brad Winters noted that federal railroad regulations are very clear on such right-of-way requirements, and that Simms should have anticipated the issue, given his previous background with the County and its railroad.
Winters also noted that there was no need for either side to point fingers, but rather the priority needed to be correcting the situation for the sake of the taxpayers.
The County convened into a closed executive session to discuss the matter with Bailey, ultimately addressing the decision later that afternoon.