LAPEL — Because the Madison County commissioners didn’t act last year on CARES Act funding, the town of Lapel is providing money to the fire department.

The Lapel Town Council voted Thursday to provide $33,757 from the Olivia Cascadden gift to the community to the Lapel/Stony Creek Fire District to pay for equipment.

Council President Chad Blake said the fire department was promised CARES Act funding it didn’t receive and money was spent with the intent of being reimbursed.

Blake said the fire department purchased two automated external defibrillators and additional equipment.

The town is providing the funding to pay for one of the automated external defibrillators and additional equipment, and the fire department is seeking donated funds to pay for the second.

Blake said last October the commissioners didn’t review and sign the requests from the fire department and that the state then changed how the CARES Act funding could be used to cover payroll costs for first responders.

“None of the funding requests from the townships were approved,” Blake said.

In other business, the town agreed to form a committee to review the proposed water rate increase.

Consultant Rob Bellucci recommended the committee review the study and make a presentation at a public meeting.

“Finalize the rate study to move forward with financing of the (water) project,” he said.

The committee will consist of Belluci, consultant Pat Callahan, Councilwoman Theresa Retherford and Deputy Clerk Paula Lee.

Lapel recently received a $700,000 grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs to upgrade the water system.

The project, expected to cost $4.7 million, includes installing 10,550 linear feet of water main, complete well improvements, and water treatment and storage improvements.

Callahan provided the estimated water rate increase based on the projected cost and if the town refinances three bonds totaling $2.1 million for 20 years.

As estimated, he said, the minimum monthly bill will increase by $4.42 to $22.82 for the project and climb by $4.34 to $22.74 if the debt is refinanced.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

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Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.