The Town of Zionsville took a big step towards ensuring their water supply for the future.
The Zionsville Town Council voted unanimously in favor of spending $15,000 for a water feasibility study during their meeting Monday night, July 2. Council President Tim Haak and Council Member Susana Suarez were not present at the meeting.
Councilman Tom Shuler said most communities in Boone County are looking into the feasibility study, which will cost a total of $60,000. Each community has to pay a portion of that number based on population, which is why Zionsville will have to pay for a quarter of the study cost.
“This measure is certainly timely because of the drought and heat we have been experiencing,” he said. “In order to address the issue of our future water supply, several communities have joined together. We hope to provide alternatives for water service for the next 20 years.”
Council Member Candace Ulmer voiced her support for the expenditure.
“In 20, 30, 40, 50 years, we will have a water issue,” she said. “This gives us an idea of what we can do for our future water supply.”
The council also voted unanimously for a measure that allows the study to be conducted.
“This resolution only agrees to the study,” Councilman Jeff Papa said. “This does not force us to conform to the policies and practices that may come in the future as a result of the study. We can get out of that in the future if we wanted.”
Shuler said all of the communities interested in the study, which includes Advance, Jamestown, Thorntown, Whitestown, Lebanon and Zionsville, would have to pass a similar measure and come up with the total $60,000 or the study would not be conducted.
“This resolution gives the study a life,” Town Attorney Andrew Buroker said. “This identifies it as a two year study to identify weaknesses in the water supply on a regional basis rather than a community basis. This resolution gives it a definite cost or cap.”
Boone County Commissioner Gene Thompson, who was at the council’s meeting, offered his thoughts on the study.
“The Boone County Commission is not necessarily opposed to it, but we feel that it is a utility, which is not in our business,” he said. “If you are moving forward with the study as an all or none, you may want to make some sort of majority so one community doesn’t hold you back.”
Buroker said if Zionsville were to pass the resolution, it would get the ball rolling for other communities to pass a similar measure.
“If you all are in agreement, having you guys adopt it initially will help the process along,” he said. “Other than getting all the community leaders in a room, there’s no other way to get it started. Somebody has to get the train started.”
The council’s next meeting is at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 6, in the Town Hall Beverly Harves Room, 1100 W. Oak St.