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Council discusses rate increases

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Brazil City Council met Wednesday and was presented with proposed water and wastewater improvement projects.

City Engineer Brian Pohlar and Douglas Baldessari, Umbaugh, Indianapolis, were on hand to explain aspects of the proposal.

"We've been addressing a lot of the water and wastewater (which includes storm water) issues ... the past few years on several projects, and we've adjusted the rates in the past few years to help pay for those and pay for the existing things we're doing," Pohlar said.

He said now the city is coming up on more capital improvements that are going to need to be done, including the detention pond for Pogues Run -- which will allow the Highway 40 Project to move forward -- and replacing lines along United States 40, among others.

Pohlar said a main concern is replacements of pumps and lift stations and improvements at the wastewater plant.

"There are several things at the wastewater plant we need to do to improve efficiencies," Pohlar said. "So with this, we kind of initiated looking at the rates again and how we would go about funding it, and Umbaugh has looked at (the rates)."

Baldessari said the rate increases the city has implemented over the past three-four years helped get the utilities back in good standing, but didn't provide much for capital projects that are needed, which are why there are more proposed rate increases.

Per figures provided by Baldesarri, the proposed wastewater utility projects total $3,989,500 and include:

* $734,500 for U.S. 40 sewer line replacements,

* $347, 900 for the sewer detention pond project, and

* $2,907,100 of other budgeted improvement projects.

The wastewater utility projects is proposed to be financed and funded through:

* Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) Extraordinary Cost Funding Grant of $464,500,

* Proposed Sewage Works revenue bonds of 2012 totaling -- after the INDOT grant -- $3,525,000, and

* The capital improvement plan funded through rates and charges, which totals $281,200 annually.

Councilman Tyler Hutcheson wanted to clarify the proposed projects -- especially the sewer and detention pond -- is what the state is currently waiting on the city to complete.

"The longer we delay (these projects), the longer we delay the Highway 40 project, essentially," Hutcheson said.

Pohlar agreed, adding there is also a certain amount of time to complete the project to still get help from the state.

"The city was required to put $500,000 toward (the Highway 40 project and) INDOT is putting $1.9 million into it," Pohlar said. "It was a good investment on the city's part; the city has already paid close to $200,000 ... (INDOT) has budgeted that $1.9 million in a certain fiscal year -- so it has to be done this next year."

Next, the water projects total $2.255 million and include $2.134 million for U.S. 40 water main replacement.

The proposed water projects will be funded by:

* INDOT Extraordinary Cost Funding Grant totaling $2.080 million,

* $175,000 from funds on hand, and

* Capital improvements plan funded through rates and charges totaling $367,500 annually.

As for rate increases, on the sewage rates will increase by 14 percent, while water rates will increase by 25 percent.

Baldesarri wanted to reinforce the fact that the higher percentage for water is deceiving because it's less costly.

According to Baldersarri, the combined monthly billings of both sewer and water for a minimum water user would increase by $5.66 (from $32.14-$37.80) and for a more average user at 533-cubic feet would increase $12.01 (from $68.38-80.39).

Brazil Mayor Brian Wyndham said he looks at this as a proactive plan.

"Being reactive to everything gets pretty expensive," Wyndham said. "We can't prevent a lot of these problems down the road ... at times, things wear out, they don't last forever.

He said it was important that these projects will help push the Highway 40 Project to completion -- noting that this may be Brazil's "only shot" at completing it.

Councilman Brad Deal said he has been working on a lot of these water projects during his tenure and feels that it's better to get them done when it's possible.

"One thing I've always felt is today the ways things are going money-wise ... I still believe that one day the government is going to tell us, 'We won't give you a dime,' and that day's coming a lot quicker than most of us want to think," Deal said. "So I always look at these projects as the quicker we can get these done, the better off we're going to be in the long run."

He added once the Highway 40 project gets done it's going to be great for Brazil.

"It's going to make the businesses and this town boom, because all of a sudden we really look nice. We have the utilities and we have the infrastructure to help bring in businesses, and that's what a lot of (these projects are) about ... not only helping make our town better, but to give our town the opportunity to grow."

Because this was a proposal, the next step is for City Attorney Traci Lawson to draft ordinances, which will be presented for the first readings at an Aug. 27, special meeting, at 7 p.m., in City Hall.

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bull! Class action Federal lawsuits are in order; not let us buy you out ripp-off scam. will seek immediate action and federal injuction will be easy to file and get; dfendending will be a real bear. thanks brazil

-- Posted by madmarkbedwell on Thu, Aug 9, 2012, at 4:32 AM

mr. deal, how long have you and others been there;and nothing. the city's inactions speak for themselves.have a good day.

-- Posted by madmarkbedwell on Thu, Aug 9, 2012, at 4:36 AM

I thought oilwell money would cover this and was only to go waterand sewer..........but somehow ended up in general fund.........

-- Posted by tinytim on Thu, Aug 9, 2012, at 10:13 PM

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