Huntingburg City Council Meeting

Last night the Huntingburg City Council conducted a final reading to approve bonds for the proposed city wastewater project.

The proposed 2016 Sewage Works Revenue Bonds will com in at about 1.4 million dollars with a Junior Loan from the Electric Utility also at 1.4 million.

Details for the city’s planned Wastewater Force Main project were laid out during a joint informational meeting between the Huntingburg Common Council, the Board of Public Works, and the city’s Utility Rate Advisory Board last month.

During that meeting Gary Ladd, with Ladd Engineering, and Buzz Krohn, with OW Krohn & Associates, submitted presentations that focused on the project’s details and how it would be funded.

The project would replace the lift station on 19th Street while adding a lift station on Van Buren Street.  The 19th Street lift station will be capable of 3 pumps, but for the time being would use only two.  Each pump is capable of a 2400 gallons a minute flow. The Van Buren lift station will consist of only two pumps.

The capacity issue is the main reason for this project as the Wastewater Force is focused mostly on the northwest side of Huntingburg where it just so happens a lot of development has been taking place.

The Hunter’s Crossing housing project is a major expansion that the city foresees will benefit from the new wastewater force main, and there is the potential for expansion in the Industrial Park. However if this project were not to unfold, capacity issues could present Huntingburg with some significant problems.

The estimated cost for the project is 4.3 million dollars.

In order to cover the costs of the expansion a utility rate increase for wastewater will be needed.  A future meeting will decide between two routes for an increase.  The first is a one step rate increase of 18%.

The second is a 2 phase rate increase, with first phase being 11.7% and the second phase 6.3%, adding up to a total increase of 18%.  Even if the city decided against the project, an 11.7% increase is still needed just to fund current operations.

Last night the council introduced the ordinance establishing that 18% rate increase with wastewater.  This increase comes at the recommendation of the utility rate advisory board and board of public works.  Now this was just an introduction.

There will be a public hearing at the next city council meeting, December 22nd at 7pm.

ALSO LAST NIGHT

Also last night the council heard an update from Energy Superintendent John Reutepohler and Indiana Municipal Power Agency’s energy efficiency manager Dan Worl about the proposed Solar Park in Huntingburg.

The idea for the park was first introduced last year, but residents of the planned area for the park voiced concerns about noise, unsightly looks and how the park would affect land values.

Reutepohler visited other solar parks built by IMPA and noted that sound won’t be a concern.  As for the issue of sight, the council had asked last year they come up with other possible locations.

After considering 4 to 5 possibilities Worl and Reutepohler came back to the council last night to propose a new location of Phoenix Drive, west of the previous location.  The new location would not be as easily noticeable by concerned nearby residents.

Huntingburg Mayor Denny Spinner says the solar park facility would be instrumental in the continued growth of the city.

The park is part of an initiative to bring more renewable forms of energy to energy providers. Huntingburg’s solar park will be a 1.75-1.8 mega watt solar station, with the goal of keeping Huntingburg’s energy rates at an even level during peak usage times balancing the energy supply when the demand increases. 

Worl stated IMPA would be seeking a tax abatement for the project. If it moves forward Worl says materials would arrive next April and the site could be up and running by the end of June or early July.

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