By Deb Patterson
NORTH WEBSTER — Cellphones began shrilling with an alert and the sound of the town of North Webster’s severe weather siren could be heard going off outside the North Webster Community Building, just 10 minutes into Monday night’s Tippecanoe & Chapman Lakes Regional Sewer District’s monthly meeting.
The meeting was suspended with those present seeking shelter in the locker rooms in the building.
The meeting resumed approximately 35 minutes later after the weather siren had ceased and the threat of danger had passed.
Trustees for the district took another step forward with the passing of its first ordinance for bond anticipation warrants. The first reading was held and due to a unanimous favorable vote, the rules were suspended and a second reading held allowing the ordinance to go into effect.
Chuck Simpson, who was elected chairman of the finance committee, read a statement regarding that committee’s meeting Wednesday, Aug. 5, with Jeff Rowe of Baker Tilley and Patti Zelmer with Ice Miller to discuss the bond ordinance. His statement provided an overview of the discussion the finance committee, consisting of Ed Ormsby, Kim Hathaway and himself, and questions asked. “It is possible that upon approval of this ordinance the district could have a bidding process of local banks start within two weeks of that approval and a possible closing of the short term financing in 30-45 days.”
Rowe and Zelmer originally participated via Zoom, and were expected to expand details on the bond anticipation notes. However, the loss of power and internet service during and following the storm, did not allow their participation when the meeting resumed.
Prior to adopting the ordinance, the trustees approved the preliminary engineering report, which is part of the ordinance and adopted a schedule estimate for the bond anticipation notes. This timeline is estimating the requests for proposals from local banks for the purchase of bond anticipation notes be by Sept. 9 with the board selecting a purchaser Sept. 14 followed by closing on the BANs by Sept. 28.
It was noted the ordinance states the bond was drafted with an overall cost not to exceed $45 million, even though estimates were at $38 million. This amount will be reduced once actual costs are known. Initial use of $4.385 million of the funds will go for the PER, surveying/design/permitting/bidding, inspection, easement descriptions/assistance, land/easement acquisition, rate consultant, local counsel, bond counsel, administration costs, outside consulting, underwriter’s discount/bank placement fee and capitalized interest and rounding.
Ken Jones with Jones Petrie Rafinski updated the board on activities with his firm. He noted in the next 30 days he is hoping to have a meeting with the Indiana Finance Authority and USDA to begin conversations on funding of the project. “This is a hard move forward,” Jones said. Additionally he noted work is progressing on submitting a facility plan to IDEM by the September deadline. “We’re good to go with a few things being added.”
The company is working on an update to the preliminary engineering plan to include one more alternative to the collection system. The PER already includes gravity and low pressure, but will include a vacuum sewer alternative and may be a viable alternative. JPR will also be reviewing the PER to double check configurations on pipe sizes and update cost estimates.
Brian Davison, board member, questioned if long term maintenance costs are being included. Jones stated those costs are being included and the district would assume responsibility for any repair and maintenance on equipment, not the homeowners.
Jones suggested an engineering committee be established so detailed discussions could be held with the city of Warsaw on an interlocal agreement. The board established a committee to consist of Davison, Jeff Thornburgh and Jon Tyler. It was stressed the committee would be bring information back to the full board for a decision.
Other information provided by Jones included the company doing a field review with staff members of the pre design so everyone on the staff understands the projects. He did note he was contacted by the owners of Suburban Acres about the possibility of hooking onto the system. He pointed out that mobile home addition is on the district’s route to hook onto Warsaw’s system, however is outside the district boundaries.
Bob Weaver, board member, noted while Suburban Acres has its own plant the affluent is piped into the Tippecanoe River. “Environmentally it would be beneficial,” he said. Thornburgh noted he would be in favor of picking it up as environmentally it would be a move in the right direction.
Jones also noted JPR continues to move ahead with other necessary work toward the final design. This includes mapping, aerial photography and an environmental analysis.