MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury residents will face an increase in their wastewater bills to pay for improvements to the town’s wastewater treatment system.
Monday evening, March 4, the Middlebury Town Council introduced a new wastewater rate ordinance. A customer discharging 4,000 gallons of wastewater who currently pays $23.81 would pay $34.25 under the new rates, according to a rate study done by H.J. Umbaugh & Associates.
Last May the council gave the public an opportunity to comment on the improvements to be made to the town’s wastewater treatment system. Engineer Steve Gress of Donohue and Associates said the treatment plant is bumping against its capacity limits and needs to be enlarged for future residential and industrial growth. The improvements will extend the plant’s capacity to meet demands through 2035. Some of the equipment, controls and electrical systems also need to be replaced because of age or corrosion.
The Popcorn lift station will be replaced with an interceptor sewer. A force main will be constructed for the North lift station. The other lift stations will also be upgraded.
About half of the cost of the improvements will come from tax increment finance district revenues, and the other half will come from raising rates.
“As a customer, I hate it,” said Council President Gary O’Dell, “but we have to make improvements to our wastewater system, and we have to pay for those improvements.”
The town has not had an increase in wastewater rates since 2001.
The council introduced the first reading of the amended and restated the sewage works bond ordinance to fund the project at a cost of $13,585,000. The town expects to close on the bond issue through the State Revolving Fund the end of this month or early in April. The town will pay $762,000 per year for the next 20 years to pay for the improvements. Middlebury qualified for a 1.5 percent interest rate due to green initiatives in the design. The council will approve the bond ordinance at a special meeting at 4:30 p.m. Monday, March 11.
Monday night the council approved a resolution awarding the wastewater treatment plant and lift station improvement project bids, subject to the town securing the revenue bond financing for the project. The wastewater treatment plant improvement project was awarded to Fetters Construction of Auburn for $9,298,000. The Popcorn interceptor and North lift station force main project was awarded to Selge Construction of Niles, Mich., for $558,953.05. Selge Construction also was awarded the bid for improving the town’s lift stations for $864,000.
The public will have opportunity to comment on the wastewater rate increase at a public hearing at the council’s next meeting at 6 p.m. March 18 in the town hall.