After weeks of discussion about a contaminated industrial site within Angolas city limits, the Steuben County commissioners have agreed to give the city $1 million.
The commissioners made the decision in a 2-1 vote Tuesday. The Angola City Council also voted Tuesday to spend $1 million to clean the former Dana Corp. site at 203 Weatherhead St.
Recent discussion about the cleanup, which will cost at least $5.5 million, became more critical in the wake of Danas bankruptcy, as well as a fall water test by the city that detected a contaminant.
Because of its bankruptcy, Dana is expected to stop operating a hydraulic system used to keep more contamination from seeping into the citys water supply.
Dana will no longer be responsible for cleanup costs, which would then fall to the current property owner, Univertical Corp.
Univertical, which employs 55 people, could move out of state if forced to shoulder the entire cost to clean the site, according to that companys chief executive officer, W. Chuck Walker.
Final approval of the countys contribution, which will come from Major Moves money – revenue the county received after the Indiana Toll Road was leased to a foreign consortium – will have to come from the Steuben County Council, according to Commissioner James Crowl, who voted against the motion.
Crowl said he opposed the motion because he didnt think enough information had been provided, including all potential sources of contaminants and whether the money might be better spent moving the citys wells.
I felt that more research needed to be done into it before we handed out that kind of money, Crowl said.
Steuben County Council members are expected to discuss the countys contribution to the cleanup at its next meeting Feb. 10.
Angola Mayor Richard Hickman said local officials will then go to the state to see what can be done to bridge the gap between the local contribution and the total cleanup cost.
When its bankruptcy closes, the state will receive 300,000 Dana shares toward the cleanup costs, according to Amy Hartsock, public information officer for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
At the close of business Wednesday, Dana shares were worth 60 cents.