By Caleigh Byrer
NORTH WEBSTER — Members of the Tippecanoe & Chapman Regional Sewer District approved a new ordinance after a few changes were made to the rates during a special meeting Monday, Sept. 19. The meeting was held in order to pass the ordinance to avoid interference with the project’s designated timeline.
Jeff Rowe, Baker Tilly municipal advisor, was contacted by the State Revolving Fund as they were having internal discussion about getting the interim and permanent monthly bill amounts reduced. The SRF offered to lower the 2.3% interest rate on the $12.2 million 35-year loan to 0%. This significant drop in interest eliminated $5.6 million of project costs.
As the interim and permanent monthly rates were calculated on total cost and debt services, the rates dropped significantly alongside the interest rate. The new interim rate during construction will be $59.60 per equivalent dwelling unit and the permanent rate will be $88.35.
The project now stands at $51.536 million.
Steve Snyder sent a letter requesting the consideration of seasonal rates for mobile homes. Andrew Boxberger, attorney, reiterated state statute allows residents to be billed based on the capacity of function, not how it is chosen to be used. Board President John Tyler stated, “this is a dangerous precedent.” Seasonal rates would likely bring forth conflict, as they would be expected for everyone, not only mobile homes.
As an example, Tyler referenced individuals who live in permanent structures and who go away for the winter; they would likely expect seasonal rates be applied to them, too. Seasonal rates would show preferential treatment from a financial standpoint as well; project costs would be covered by raising the bill on year-round users, which the board would like to avoid, especially because of the recent developments with the SRF.
To maintain fairness and stay on the project timeline, the board opted to decline the request for the time being. If seasonal rates are to be considered, the board will need time to deliberate.
The definition for non-sewage producing garage was changed, with the addition of the word “detached.”
Steve Henschen, project engineer with Jones Petrie Rafinski, discussed proceedings with the notice of awards, which should be signed by the board on or around Oct. 7.