WARSAW — The Warsaw Common Council received financial management reports for the wastewater and stormwater utilities. The reports indicate the city may need to look at rate increases due to proposed projects. No actions were taken on the reports.
The six-month financial management reports were received from H.J. Umbaugh and Associates, Mishawaka. Mayor Joe Thallemer directed council members to look at the general overview in each report. Recommendations for rate increases to cover upcoming projects planned were noted.
The management report for wastewater states fund balances exceed recommended minimum reserves by over $3 million with the total fund balances forecasted to decrease in 2016 due to planned capital improvements but increase each year from 2017 to 2020. Thallemer noted the council may have to consider a rate increase due to needed projects for plant improvements. The last rate increase was 2008. “The capacity is getting close,” he said, with known infiltration/inflow repairs looming in the future.
The report notes the planned improvement project to address needed improvements at the plant in 2017 at an estimated $6.4 million. It states to support the debt service associated with the project, the utility rates and charges will need to increase by approximately 10 percent, but may vary due to the actual project cost. The report states the city is also facing a possible wastewater treatment plant expansion project to occur at the end of a five-year forecasted period. A second adjustment in rates and charges is projected with that expansion.
The financial management report for the Municipal Stormwater Utility, shows a cash balance of $56,296 below the minimum recommended reserves. Thallmer noted there are not sufficient funds for capital improvements. Currently the city has the lowest rate in the state of $2.95 per month. A 21 percent increase would be needed for projects proposed, such as the South Side Drainage project, even with using the cumulative capital development fund.
The council unanimously approved the first reading of an amended Solid Waste Ordinance. The new ordinance cleans up an antiquated ordinance and includes reference to the new 96 gallon containers. Definitions of residential complex and rental unit communities were added. Thallemer noted the ordinance includes practices never before in writing.
Among the amendments was the refuse storage containers and storage of refuse must be in the 96 or 64 gallon containers and removed within 24 hours of being emptied. It also notes rental unit communities — those with five or more residences — will not be served by the city. The final reading and adoption of the ordinance will take place at the April 18 meeting. A copy of the ordinance can be viewed here.
During other business the council:
- Received the 2015 Redevelopment Commission Report.
- Adopted on second reading ordinances for additional appropriation and transfer of monies for the Certified Tech Park. The additional appropriation is in the amount of $110,000 to be used for improvements, and the transfer was for $55,000 from capital projects to other services to be used towards an agreement with OrthoWorx signed by the Redevelopment Commission earlier that evening.
- Adopted a resolution for additional appropriation for grant reimbursement funds. This is receipt of state funds reimbursing the city for the Market Street project. The funds were spent out of the EDIT money and through the resolution go back into the EDIT Fund.