Your Water Conservancy District is failing you:
annual boil orders, increased rates and taxes, poor water quality, poor water pressure, insufficient fire flow, broken hydrants, inefficient operations, fiscal irresponsibility, and short-sightedness. When will we (the taxpayers) revolt and stand up to this form of government? Haven’t we had enough?
What is it?
In general, a Conservancy District is a form of government established by the Indiana DNR as a solution for rural water and waste water issues. For example, a small development area along an interstate may create a Conservancy District to pool funds together from property owners to manage everyone’s wastewater. This form of government is not meant to provide water or waste water services to entire municipalities, as is the case in Battle Ground.
Conservancy Districts have the ability to charge rates for their services along with a tax on your property values. As your property value increases, so does the total amount you pay for the service, even if your usage stays the same.
In Battle Ground, we have a Conservancy District called the Battle Ground Water Conservancy District (“Water Conservancy”). It consists of a board of 7 “elected” officials and 1 full time employee. The Water Conservancy is not controlled by the Town Council/Municipal Town of Battle Ground. In Indiana there have been 135 Conservancy Districts created, 39 of which are inactive/dissolved. Of the remaining 96, only 24 supply water. Additionally, only 3 supply water to municipalities. Of those 3, the Battle Ground Water Conservancy District is the only one not significantly larger than the municipality is serves. Battle Ground is the only Town in Indiana with a Conservancy District that exists only for the Town’s purpose. So, what makes Battle Ground so unique that it requires a separate form of government to manage water when literally every other municipality manages its own water? Why are we been paying for this extra layer of government? How much money has been wasted over the years while our water system has deteriorated around us?
So, why do we have one?
In 1977 the Town of Battle Ground was offered a water tower for “free” by a neighboring business. Of course, there ended up being a sizable cost to transporting and installing this water tower, which is the water tower near Shawnee Ridge. In order to fund these costs, the Town took advantage of grants from the DNR to set up a Conservancy District (see highlights in attached support for proof). At the time of creation, the Water Conservancy was controlled entirely by the Town as it solely existed on paper.
Why do I care?
Because the Water Conservancy and the Town of Battle Ground serve almost identical customers, we are paying for an entirely separate and expensive board to solely manage water. On top of that, their taxes and rates keep increasing, yet pressure, quality, and boil orders are increasing. All the while, infrastructure is long overdue for replacement. We are paying a premium for a broken water system.
We are also paying for a local government full of inefficiencies arising from two decision making bodies overseeing almost identical service areas. Employees, resources, property, and equipment are haphazardly split and shared between the Town and the Water Conservancy, causing miscommunication and arguments, which create legal fees and wasted time. Clearly, a town this small doesn’t need two elected, paid boards.
This board is rife with conflicts of interest, fiscal mismanagement, election issues, and project mismanagement. All of this puts our safety and property values at risk, and we’re paying for it! It’s time we take back control of our water and dissolve the Battle Ground Water Conservancy District.
Order to Create
Petition to Create
Listing of Districts in Indiana