Elkins City Council passed several measures during its regular meeting Thursday to finance the first phase of the city's long-term control plan that is aimed to separate the city's sanitary sewer and storm sewer systems. The work is necessary to meet the requirements of a consent decree with the Environmental Protection Agency.
Before council met at 7 p.m., a short informational meeting was held during which representatives from Burgess & Niple broke down the project. He said the total for the work is $2.5 million, which will be paid from the state revolving fund through a low-interest loan, but council also had to pass an ordinance to obtain a bond that will serve as bridge funding until the state money becomes available.
The engineers also explained that the city will have to consider a sewer rate hike to help pay off the financing for the project. Residents currently pay about $28 for 4,000 gallons, and the rate will have to rise to $35 for 4,000 gallons.
The deadline for engineering on the project is Feb. 13, and construction will be complete by March 2015.
The city's bond council Attorney John Stump, from Steptoe & Johnson, was on hand at the meeting.
"The ordinance to authorize the notes (bond financing) for the LTCP project will be temporary," he said. "Permanent financing from the state revolving fund will pay off the notes."
The bond notes will be for a credit line of $600,000 with an interest rate of 1.84 percent from United Bank.
Council voted to pass the ordinance and also passed a resolution to provide for the issuance of the notes and a separate ordinance to authorize the first draw down against the notes.
According to the resolution, the first draw down is to pay $92,578.86 including $15,000 to Steptoe & Johnson, $50,054.58 to Burgess & Niple, $24,079.46 to Griffith & Associates and $3,444.82 to the city's bond council Bob Rodecker, for work related to the LTCP.
The LTCP work must be complete to meet the requirements in a Consent Decree with the EPA. The city was facing fines for violations of the Clean Water Act that were not addressed. The decree was signed in 2007, and the city must separate the two systems because in high rain events, the storm sewer and sanitary sewer systems overflow, dumping sewage directly into the water.