Milltown approves project contracts
Chris Adams, Contributing Writer
A month after learning that it was successful in its application for a $700,000 grant to help fund a new wastewater treatment plant, the Milltown Town Council, at its Feb. 10 meeting, kept the project moving forward by approving a pair of contracts.
The three-member council unanimously approved a design services contract with Heritage Engineering and a rate consultant agreement with Baker Tilly following presentations from both firms.
Bob Woosley of Heritage Engineering, which performed the preliminary study on the estimated $1.64 million project, reiterated a comment he made at the January town council meeting.
“There may be some cost savings that come up during design and bidding, but, for now, we have to leave it as is with the (Office of Community and Rural Affairs) grant,” he said. “But, we’ve already identified a few things that we think could lend itself to some cost savings.”
What isn’t paid for by the $700,000 OCRA grant will be paid for with a low-interest $940,000 State Revolving Fund loan. That includes the required 20% local match on the loan along with all soft costs, such as the design services and rate consultant contracts.
Baker Tilly’s Doug Baldessari, in answering a question from Councilman Justin Barnes, said the town’s existing wastewater treatment plant cannot be rolled into the SRF loan, but the loan can be structured in such a way to make it almost feel like it has.
Baldessari added that while the project’s actual impact to user rates will not be known until the project bids come in late this summer, Baker Tilly will go ahead and perform a preliminary analysis.
“The initial thing that we’re going to do is gather a test year, a 12-month period of financial information for the sewage works and do an expense analysis, a payroll analysis and project out what your expenses are going to be and your revenue is going to be for the sewer utility,” he said.
Baldessari said ongoing capital improvements, including to lines, lift stations and more, will also be considered when looking at a proposed user rate.
“So, your rates should not only pay for the debt, but should also have an amount to pay for capital improvements every year to keep up your system,” he said.
The SRF loan likely would have a 20-year payback at 2% interest, which Baldessari said is a very good term. He said the Indiana Finance Authority, which administers the SRF Loan Program, allows for up to a 35-year payback, but the interest rate would be higher.
Regarding the project’s time line, Woosley said the design work must be finished near March 1.
“That’s not as important as we have to advertise and receive bids and start the project in the fall of this year,” he said. “So, we need to advertise for bids by July 1. … Then, after that, we’ll open bids on Aug. 1.”
The project must be completed within 18 months of the issuance of the OCRA grant letter.
In a related matter, town resident Bill Byrd, having been given permission at last month’s town council meeting, reported he attended the Harrison County Council meeting in January.
Byrd, who previously approached both Harrison and Crawford County officials about helping pay for the new wastewater treatment plant, told the town council in January that the Harrison County Board of Commissioners had approved providing $450,000 pending approval of the county council.
Byrd said that he asked the county council to table the request without prejudice so that he could return later — possibly in June following the party primary elections — to make the request. He said the council approved doing so.
In other business, the town council:
•Administered the oath of office to the town’s new marshal, Jimmie Vincent. Vincent succeeds Chief Ray Saylor, who retired at the end of January.
•Appointed Lori Skinner Huss to the cemetery committee. She succeeds her late uncle, John Hammond.
•Was informed by town manager Josh Breeding that town employee Jennifer Hogan submitted her resignation.
•Accepted the resignation of town attorney Mark Kiesler, who has accepted a position with the Scott County Prosecutor’s office. Kiesler thanked the council for the opportunity to represent the town.
•Accepted a bid from Jared Goldman Lawncare to mow the Milltown Cemetery at a rate of $750 per mowing for four years. Goldman, who has mowed the cemetery for the past several years at a cost of $650 per mowing, said the price increase is due to it becoming more difficult to find employees. He added that, while it is dependent on the weather, he typically mows the cemetery weekly during the mowing season.
•At the request of Crawford County Emergency Management Agency Director Aaron Bye, appointed Jerry Mackey to the EMA Advisory Board and Vincent to the Indiana Dept. of Homeland Security District 10 Planning Council.