By Deb Patterson
WARSAW — Decisions, perhaps the easiest ones to be made, were handled by the Tippecanoe Chapman Lakes Regional Sewer District Board tonight, Monday, May 11. The board not only elected its officers, but preliminarily decided on a treatment provider, thus filling the remaining vacancy on the board and adopted its first resolution.
The hour-long meeting, held in the old courtroom in the Kosciusko County Courthouse, was attended in person by six of the seven board members and eight people from the public. Ed Ornsby, board member, appeared to be the only person participating via Google Meet.
The very first order of business was appointing Jon Tyler as president, Chuck Simpson as vice president and Kim Hathaway as secretary. The board could then get down to business.
Warsaw was preliminarily chosen to be the new district’s future treatment provider after costs were provided by Ken Jones, Jones Petrie Rafinski. With this decision, Brian Davison, utility manager for the city’s wastewater utility, was sworn onto the board. Chad Miner, the district’s attorney, noted the board could come back later and replace Davison if the treatment provider was changed.
During the presentation to choose the future treatment provider Jones’ summary did not include developing a new facility. The figures provided came from the previously completed preliminary engineer’s report used in forming the district. He reiterated the numbers for regionalization with Lakeland were more estimates as LRSD had not confirmed the amounts nor studied or indicated if they would accept the new district into its system.
The figures presented for the capital project costs reflected the cost to be an estimated $42 million to go with LRSD, while going with the city of Warsaw would be around $37.5 million. The difference was due to the fact LRSD facility would need to be doubled in size and require more pipe length to connect, all at the expense of the Tippecanoe Chapman Lakes RSD. Warsaw is in the process of developing a connection point near the airport and close where a connection could be mad, reducing the cost. “I feel a lot better with the numbers developed with the city,” Jones stated.
While the capital costs were lower with Warsaw, the estimated cost for treatment expenses and connection system operation were about $60,000 higher than LRSD. Yet it was noted Warsaw’s figures were set at $420,000 ($3-5 per 1,000 gallons) while the treatment expense with LRSD was estimated at $359,575 by a fiscal advisor and was not confirmed or studied by LRSD board.
Additionally Jones noted in doing the “math earlier today,” over a 20 year period at a 2.5 percent interest rate, it would cost $3.7 million and still be in the ball park of the projected cost. “Warsaw makes more sense,” Jones stated.
Simpson questioned if Warsaw had the capacity. Davison noted the city is in the process of enlarging its facility from 3.9 million gallons a day to 6 million, and the $25 million project will be completed in the fall. It was stated the sewer district is anticipating sending close to 350,000 gallons per day and the city was willing to be a part of it.
The board also adopted its first resolution — allowing residents within the district who are doing rebuilds or new builds to seek permits for temporary storage holding tanks. Following the adoption of the resolution, the board received its first request for such a permit. These permits would be good for one year instead of requiring property owners the expense to install a new septic system with a sewer connection forthcoming. Tyler was given the authority to sign the permits on behalf of the board when a request was made between scheduled meetings.
Scott and Renee Drake, EMS T32C Lane, Leesburg, made the first permit request. It was noted there is the proper setback available on the property for septic, if the sewer would not become available. The Drakes were informed that the holding tank had to be a minimum of 1,250 gallons and it must have an alarm system. It would also be their responsibility to maintain the holding tank.
During other matters the board unanimously agreed to let Jones and Miner work on providing a preliminary budget, all funds would be reimbursable to the lending agency once bonds were issued. The appointment of district advisors, legal fiscal and engineering firms, along with the adoption of by-laws and a mission statement were tabled until the next meeting.
The next meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Monday, June 8. The meeting location, advertised to be held in the North Webster Community Center Party Room, 301 N. Main St., North Webster, may be rescheduled to another location based on the governor’s executive order on the number of people allowed to gather at one location.