By Ken de la Bastide Kokomo Tribune
---- — More than 80 percent of the property owners in the Darrough Chapel subdivision moved forward with connection to municipal wastewater systems ahead of last Wednesday’s deadline.
For several decades the subdivision, located east of Kokomo on both sides of Markland Avenue, has been plagued by failing septic systems.
As of Friday, 97 of the 120 property owners either already connected to the newly installed sanitary sewer or have made plans to be connected.
Of the 97 property owners with plans to connect to the sanitary sewer, 23 enrolled in a program through Howard County to finance the installation.
The commissioners and the Howard County Stormwater District both approved a plan allowing the property owners to spread the cost of connecting to the sewer over five years.
Property owners were allowed to borrow the $1,250 fee to tap in to the Kokomo sewer system and the money to pay a contractor to connect their residence to the sewer line.
Nolan Excavating has been contracted by the stormwater district to connect all the houses to the sewer system and to abandon the existing septic systems. The estimated cost was $4,000 for each house for construction and the tap-in fee.
Property owners will pay 5 percent interest for the administration of the program and the funds will be repaid in 10 equal installments as part of annual property tax payments beginning in May 2014.
A letter will be mailed to those property owners who missed the deadline informing them that they are required to hook up to the sewer or will be taken to court.
In 2012, the county received a $600,000 Community Focus Fund grant to install the gravity feed sewers in the subdivision.
The work was scheduled to be completed by June 1, but a six-month extension was granted by the state.
The stormwater district has spent approximately $116,000 on the project thus far.
Through an agreement with Kokomo, Darrough Chapel property owners will be charged a $45 per month sewer fee. Kokomo agreed to extend an interceptor sewer line along Arnold Avenue to the neighborhood at a cost of $1.2 million.
Darrough Chapel property owners were required to sign a waiver indicating they would not remonstrate against any future efforts by Kokomo to annex the subdivision into the city.