Town still looking for sewer fix

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The possibility of Fillmore having its own wastewater treatment facility continued to move forward slowly under heavy advisement during the town council's Saturday meeting.

Jon Handy from JDH Engineering Inc. provided the Fillmore Town Council with a copy of a proposed agreement to allow Handy's company to provide the town with wastewater treatment services.

According to the agreement, "JDH Engineering will provide all necessary permits, certificates, engineering, treatment facilities, personnel and appurtenances to connect to the existing collection system belonging to the Town of Fillmore and its own expense."

The company will also operate the town's existing collection system, including the lift stations and the tri-yearly cleaning of the system.

Under this proposed 25-year agreement, the town shall be financially responsible for all repairs to the system, as well as providing the company "with all reasonable support and assistance at all venues to acquire and procure all necessary permits, approvals and easements to complete the project."

The agreement also provides the town with monthly billing information. The company will send out monthly bills and will collect all revenue for any service provided. "Billing shall be based on measured service for those customers purchasing water from the town and a yet to be determined rate for those not purchasing water but still taking sewer service."

The initial monthly sewer rate for residential service will be $48 a month. This is $9 less than what was originally proposed a month ago.

Handy informed the council it would be better if it continued to pay its loan for the collection system. Handy said the town would bill and collect this money separately from what he sends out.

This is the main reason why Handy has dropped the initial rate. "I think the town probably ought to go ahead and collect that money themselves because it's their debt to retire," Handy said.

Council president Margaret Alexander told Handy that his proposed rate of $48, plus another $8-$9 a month is more than what she currently pays for her sewer service. Handy said that this was the average, but when the town goes back to measured service, then a rate would have to be set up to handle it.

Town attorney John Zeiner asked the council if this was the first time it had seen any figures for this project. Alexander said yes and that she had asked Handy to provide the council with some figures so it could have an idea of what it would be looking at for both the future of the town and the project.

The town currently uses the service provided by the Greencastle wastewater treatment facility. With Handy's proposal to provide the town with a wastewater facility, Zeiner had only one question. "Can he do that for enough less to make it worthwhile and also terminate our contract with Greencastle?"

The council has taken Handy's proposal under advisement and will meet Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. to discuss the proposal with Handy.

The council meets regularly every second Saturday of the month at 9 a.m. in the town hall. The next meeting is scheduled for Saturday, April 14. This meeting is open to the public.

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