CROMWELL — The board members of Turkey Creek Regional Sewer District met for their regular monthly meeting Monday night, Sept. 21. The meeting tied up many loose ends, including the rate increase, and provided the public an opportunity to speak, although no public members attended.
During a special meeting held Aug. 31, the first reading of two ordinances, 2015-1 and 2015-2, was approved by the board and was read a second time during Monday night’s meeting. The public was given the opportunity to speak after each reading. Following each approval and adoption of the ordinances, John Julien of Umbaugh and Associates explained what the board had done. “You just amended the ordinance that was adopted back in December 2014,” said Julien in reference to 2015-03, adding “at that time, that document talked about the description of the project. That was our best information available in terms of total project and the amount of borrowing.”
Since then, the document has been updated to reflect the three contracted areas for the S.W.A.P plan, including an expansion of the wastewater treatment plant, and the total cost of the project, which sits at $5.6 million. The ordinances also approved payment options for those who don’t want to pay a lump sum to hookup.
The board also discussed final costs for joining the project. According to Julien, users in the district will see a rate increase of just $5.95, keeping monthly bills at $65.90, according to the district’s attorney, Dick Green. Julien noted without the SWAP project, users would have seen a $9 increase in monthly fees as a result of fewer hookups and a need to cover costs of operation. In the future, both of the ordinances that passed will be available on the district’s website, along with project maps and online bill pay.
The board also passed an ordinance that amended one that “goes clear back to the original project,” according to Green. Previously, a new hookup was charged a capital charge of $893. During the Monday meeting, the board approved a motion to change that to $3,300. According to Green, the capital charge, or buy down charge, is used to pay a small chunk of the project cost borrowed to reduce the amount borrowed to keep rates lower. On top of that, district customers also pay a $2,500 availability charge when hooking up, which backdates the cost of interest money that was charged to other existing customers.
Although the board approved these changes, they also made wiggle room for customers who have already expressed an interest in joining. Less than 10 customers have been quoted at an $893 capital charge, and the board unanimously agreed to honor those quotes. “If it’s been quoted, it needs to be honored,” said Robert Dumford, board member.
The board also heard updates from TCRSD Superintendent Timothy Woodward, who had nothing but praise for his team. Woodward reported Labor Day weekend had the district operating at 90 percent capacity with no problems. “This is the first time ever that we’ve had three holidays in a row without a problem,” added Woodward. He also let the board know the water plant had been repainted to OSHA standards, and the district is now using a “very complicated” online method to submit reports to Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
The board will meet again at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19, at the Cromwell location.