After several discussions at previous meetings, members of the Huntertown Utility Service Board voted to implement a change in the town’s construction inspection policies related to sewer and water utilities Dec. 3.

After receiving feedback from developers, Town Engineer Derek Frederickson proposed scaling back on the town’s hours spent onsite during water and sewer installation. The change would reduce inspection time by about 20 percent, Frederickson said during the meeting at Town Hall, adding that the reduction in onsite presence would be more consistent with what developers experience in other communities in northeast Indiana.

“We believe we can still meet the goals of what the town is trying to accomplish and at the same time still welcome and promote economic development in Huntertown,” Frederickson said.

Utility Service Board President Jim Fortman expressed concerns about scaling back on oversight during previous board meetings, citing projects in past years where developer negligence led to future repair costs to the town. Fortman was absent during the meeting, but Frederickson acknowledged the concern, stating that he feels there would still be enough oversight to catch any bad practices.

“The types of issues that have been discovered during construction, I believe, would all still have been caught with this scaled-back policy,” Frederickson said.

The policy change includes an upfront developer fee of approximately 4 percent of estimated construction costs.

Board member Brad Hite led the meeting in Fortman’s absence, insisting that the policy include a clause that protects the town from unforeseen issues that could arise during construction projects, such as weather delays or reworks if installations are found to be noncompliant.

Hite and board member Kerri Garvin each gave approval of the policy change.

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