KOSCIUSKO — Commissioners approved County Attorney Chad Miner’s request to file the Tippy-Chapman Regional Sewer District petition with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management at the Kosciusko County Commissioner meeting held Tuesday, Dec. 11.
Ken Jones, president and chief executive officer with Jones Petrie Rafinski, Elkhart, cautioned they are a long way from project bids and will not know the exact cost of the project until that time.
“We have determined there are about 1,983 physical connections to the future wastewater system which represent approximately 2,360 residential equivalents,” Jones stated.
He explained that the recommended collection system at this time is a low-pressure sewer that uses a series of grinder pumps to energize the system.
“A low-pressure sewer concept allows us to minimize the disturbance to roadways, landscaping, trees and driveways,” said Jones. “It also appears to be the least costly choice.”
Jones said a preliminary report indicates that a connection to the city of Warsaw is the most logical approach. Two other options were previously considered, including connection to the Lakeland Regional Sewage District’s new wastewater facility or potential for a new wastewater plant somewhere out in the service area.
“At this point in time we are not expecting to implement a connection fee,” said Jones. “There will be property owner expenses relative to the connection of their private improvements to the public infrastructure.”
Homeowners will have to abandon and render unusable their existing septic tank. Jones estimated a cost of somewhere between $600 and $900 for the property abandonment of the septic system and somewhere between $20 and $30 per foot to make the physical connection to the public works system.
Jeff Rowe, representative from Umbaugh & Associates, Indianapolis, reviewed funding options including traditional open market financing, a state revolving fund program and financing through the USDA Rural Development Program.
“Typically what we see with these types of projects is that the majority are financed through a state revolving fund loan program or through USDA. They provide the best financing options available, being that it is a subsidized interest rate, along with the possibility of grant funding or loan forgiveness.”
“In terms of rates, assuming no grant or loan forgiveness, the lowest rate would be around $98 per month,” said Rowe.
According to Rowe, a target rate of $80 per month would require a grant of roughly $10.5 million dollars. Rowe said studies show that average existing districts across the state are paying roughly $75 per month.
Commissioner Vice-President Cary Groninger added that, after looking into the state revolving fund option, it appeared that chances for obtaining a grant are good.
“From what was shared with me, they were very interested in the project and thought this was something they’d want to support, so the possibility of getting a grant for this is highly likely,” said Groninger. “At what level we don’t know, but this is a project they are very interested in.”
Miner stated that the total estimated cost of the project at this time is between 37.5 and 39.5 million dollars. The next step will be to present the findings to the county council Thursday, Dec. 13, for their approval.
- Commissioners approved a request by Judge David Cates to apply for a Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative grant.
- A request by Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Brad Voelz to apply for a Teen Court grant was approved.
- Annual service agreements with KEDCo, CSI and Disaster Recovery Services were approved.
- Scott Tilden was given the approval to apply for a grant through INDOT for the Bridge 161 Project. Commissioners also approved Tilden’s request to set a bid date of Tuesday, Jan. 8, to open quotes for a three quarter ton pick-up truck for the highway department.
- The next regular meeting will be held at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18.