Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Local News

June 13, 2014

Underground contamination will be cleaned up

(Continued)

In order to qualify, the firm must be properly registered with IDEM and pay annual fees. According to the attorney, “Unfortunately, the property owner has not paid” the fees since 2010. He explained if the city came into possession of the property and paid past Becker Properties LLC fees totalling $1,080, it can qualify for trust fund dollars.

Guevara noted there is a $35,000 deductible before the city could access the trust fund. “Before you could remediate the site, you would have to remove the underground storage tanks” at an estimated cost of around $35,700, which is not covered by the trust fund. Board members learned the city would end up spending about $70,700 before state trust fund money could be used to remove the tainted soil and other underground materials. After remediation, city leaders would sell the property with the hope of recouping spent funds.

Guevara continued updating BBW. “The property owner indicated the transfer could occur, but it would be for a significant amount of money ... he eventually agreed to transfer the site” if the city pays the outstanding property taxes.

Fledderman said during executive sessions in the fall and recently, the city council and BBW have been made aware of the situation.

He added, “There have been some people who have expressed interest in this property,” but had environmental concerns. The mayor observed the former gas station “continues to be an eyesore, a detriment to that neighborhood and could affect neighboring properties and property values.”

Guevara said the vacant property is considered a “brownfield,” a site that’s underutilized for economic development purposes because now no property taxes are being paid and no persons are employed there. “It has a ripple effect on the values of surrounding properties.”

A timetable was detailed. Fledderman said state officials need 60 days notice before anything could happen. Guevara said once the tanks are removed, the extent of the problem could be understood by 2015’s first quarter.

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