NORTH WEBSTER — The Lakeland Regional Sewer District met at their standard location Thursday evening, Jan. 5. Although the North Webster Community Center is the current host of the 6 p.m. monthly meeting, board members anticipate being able to meet in one of the rooms of the brand new wastewater treatment facility very soon.
Although the majority of discussion and work by the board has recently covered finalization items, the board was able to make a $10M decision that will save the district for years to come. The large USDA loan ($29M) granted to the district was scheduled to be closed upon in approximately two months. With word of interest rates that were on the rise by nearly one point, the district hustled to close early. On Dec. 27, 2016, the board was able to finalize that plan and make it reality. The difference in interest rates will save the district approximately $10M over the life of the project repayment.
The district was also made aware of some requirements outlined for them by the USDA such as setting aside one-year of loan payments over a 10-year period. The district is also required to set aside funds for replacement parts.
Only one of four of the contracted areas can officially be labeled as “complete,” but each of the other three areas have reached an estimated 99 percent completion as contractors prepare to complete punch list items and leave the area. Contractors have also been scheduled to repair damage done to drives and lawns and other landscaping.
The board discussed several other maintenance items, including the upcoming full-rate bills. The bill for March 2017 will be the first one at the full rate, and the district wants to prepare customers for the change. JPR, the firm in charge of billing for the district, has agreed to add a memo to the upcoming bills to alert customers to the increased rates.
The board opened the floor for public questions after no new business was brought to the table. Scott of little Barbee told the board he had missed the “second chance” letter sent to homeowners, leaving him no choice but to join the project at a cost fully his own. He expressed frustration with a line that was put in on his property incorrectly and removed with no permission from him. Project Engineer Casey Erwin explained the pipe was removed from the road. The district did give Scott the option of signing over his grinder station after installation for the district to own and maintain.
Another member of the district, Joel, presented the board with his challenges in connecting to the type 2 grinder station he shares with his neighbor. Joel was unable to grant an easement early in the project due to not being the homeowner at that time, and also missed any additional chances to do so. Because of this, and being unable to locate Joel’s current septic tank, the district placed the grinder station much closer to the neighboring home. Joel said this would require him to run line over 120 feet and downhill, a troublesome project. The board recommended Joel’s contractor use open cut versus boring to smooth out the process.
The district will meet again at NWCC until further notice on the first Thursday of each month beginning at 6 p.m.