By Deb Patterson
NORTH WEBSTER — A sewer rate ordinance was introduced to the members of the Tippecanoe & Chapman Regional Sewer District Monday, Aug. 16, at a special meeting. The board also was presented the final rate study for the project.
The interim rate, charged during construction, is proposed at $66.50 per equivalent single-family dwelling unit.
The rate proposed after construction is $95.60 per equivalent single-family dwelling unit.
Only one question was raised during the brief meeting, that from Steve Snyder, representing the patons. Snyder said he had presented a proposal of modifications to the definitions of equivalent dwelling units to include seasonal residences. He questioned if this proposal was considered and disregarded or disregarded all together.
Andrew Boxberger, attorney, responded those definitions were not incorporated in the introductory ordinance. “Otherwise it was rejected,” stated Snyder.
Jeff Rowe, Baker Tilly Municipal Advisors, presented information as to how the rates were calculated. This included a schedule of project costs and funding, amortization of proposed bonds, annual operation, maintenance and replacement costs and connections.
Rowe did note the funding shortage would be covered by traditional loans by the State Revolving Fund. It was noted the estimated yearly cost for the $24.9 million USDA loan over 40 years at a 1.75% interest would be $870,000. The yearly cost for the SRF loan of $12.2 million over 35 years at a 2.30% interest would be $515,000.
The proposed rates were included in the sewer rate ordinance presented by Boxberger. He stated the proposed rate ordinance will be posted on the district’s website for the public to view. A public hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 12, in Celebration Hall of the North Webster Community Center. The final version of the ordinance will take place the following week on Monday, Sept. 19.
The ordinance includes the definitions of EDUs, notation that tenants would not be billed for service but the owner will receive the bill. He also stated he is in contact with the USDA regarding providing grinder pumps to all customers, whether or not they signed an easement agreement. He stated the USDA had previously not allowed a district to buy the grinder pumps for those who had not signed the agreement; however, a court case two years ago determined grinder pumps be provided for all customers.
He also highlighted several other sections of the ordinance, which included the cost to be charged to a customer for non-domestic sewage.
The final business was to tentatively award construction contracts to the two low bidders. Steve Henschen, project engineer, stated both Niblock Excavating and Selge Construction, have been in existence for 20-30 years “doing projects of this size and nature. We’re comfortable moving forward.”
The contracts will be given two years to complete the construction. The contracts will officially be awarded at closing on Oct. 12.
Selge Construction was tentatively awarded the contract for the Chapman Lakes wastewater system at $15.4 million and East Tippecanoe Lake wastewater system at $11.25 million. Niblock was tentatively awarded the West Tippecanoe Lake wastewater system at $14.8 million.
The next meeting of the board will be at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 12, followed by the public hearing at 6:30 p.m. The meetings will be in the Celebration Room of the North Webster Community Center.