2011-03-06 / Front Page

Village looks at sewer work estimates

‘Where you going to get the money?’ - Councilman Don Swartzmiller

CHESANING - Two young WadeTrim engineers sat in front of the Chesaning Village Council on March 1, ready to respond to questions about the engineering contract, which the council had approved during their Feb. 15 meeting. But there were questions to ask before the paperwork was signed.

On March 1, Councilman Don Swartzmiller looked at the engineers and simply asked, “Where you going to get the money?”

The WadeTrim engineers did not identify themselves. One began talking about a USDA loan that could be stretched out to 40 years offering a small payment, as opposed to a SRF loan.

Swartzmiller responded, “I don’t see how we can do this at this magnitude.”

One of the WadeTrim engineers explained that they had a rough estimate for the cost of televising the sanitary sewers throughout the entire village, and put it together with the improvements to the wastewater treatment plant. “Without looking at the system, it’s tough to determine the extent of the work needed,” the young engineer explained, adding, “The televising itself is relatively inexpensive. It’s lining them [that brings the cost up].”

He estimated the cost of diagnosing the problem through analysis at $464,000; another $3 million for the repairs. He based the estimate on the expectation that 50 percent of the pipes would need to be lined.

Councilman Bill Boyd favored a shorter term on the loan; knowing it would be more expensive, but concerned that the village would have other financial obligations in the future.

Swartzmiller preferred to pursue a grant program, such as the S2. The S2 is a 90/10 match, with the village only responsible for 10 percent of the project costs, he explained. Swartzmiller said the S2 grants are not yet funded, but the legislation had passed. He believed the village would qualify for the S2 grant money.

“I think the DEQ has to understand, we just don’t have the money,” Swartzmiller stated.

He talked about meeting with the DEQ to see if they can get an extension. “A lot of these figures (presented by WadeTrim) are based on the whole project.” He proposed sitting down to identify the portions of the village which are believed to have the worst infiltration issues. “Look at the hot spots,” he commented.

Frasier said he agreed they should “sit down with the DEQ and figure where we can go, according to them. They didn’t agree last time.”

Swartzmiller responded, “We need them [the DEQ] on our side. I think we’re damn close to meeting that 25 year storm [threshold]. No use to go this direction if they don’t agree with us.”

There was some discussion about the S2 grant not yet being funded.

Swartzmiller reasoned, “If we get the grant, it’s a no-brainer. But we have to look at [what to do] if we don’t.” He added, “Chesaning doesn’t need a $40 million project; at $10 million - take it.”

“We’ve got to take a stand. We can’t afford to do this unless there’s grant money involved.”

Village Administrator Lisa Hitchcock recommended contacting local legislators, Senator Roger Kahn and Representative Ken Horn. She also mentioned that having spoken with DEQ officials earlier that day, and they were not aware that the money hadn’t been allocated for the S2 grants.

Return to top

Copyright © 2009-2018 Tri-County Citizen, All Rights Reserved