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Monday, June 17, 2013

Ind. Gov't. - Dispute in Elkhart over public records access

The long story today in the Elkhart Truth, reported by Dan Spalding, begins:

ELKHART — A new complaint against the city of Elkhart has been filed with Indiana’s Public Access Counselor — this one over the availability of public records.

The paperwork was filed by Melvin Bontrager on behalf of business owner David Schemenauer and a group of businesses who have become vocal critics of Elkhart’s compact fee policy and Mayor Dick Moore. They are seeking details from the city on an arrangement with Ontwa Township in Edwardsburg, Mich., where the township oversees sewer service that is treated by the city of Elkhart.

The complaint was filed last week and came at the same time the public access counselor offered an advisory opinion on a complaint filed by Elkhart city councilman Brian Dickerson. In the ruling, the state said Moore’s sewer task force did not violate the Open Door Law.

The business coalition has made several requests for information from the city related to city sewer service as they continue to question policies for both commercial and residential sewer customers. While chiefly concerned about the commercial compact policy, the group has aligned itself with Valley View residents, some of whom have declined to sign a new residential agreement with the city.

The complaint with the public access counselor came after the city declined to provide information about the existence of an annual credit Ontwa Township may or may not receive from the city of Elkhart for capital expenditures, according to Schemenauer.

The city declined to provide information because it “is currently in a contractual dispute with Ontwa Township,” according to a letter from city utility attorney Margaret Marnocha.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 17, 2013 09:20 AM
Posted to Indiana Government