2013-02-24 / News

Sloan schools village council on sewage dumping

BY JEANNE MARCELLO STAFF REPORTER

CHESANING – Christopher Sloan of Sloan Septic Tank Service, LLC approached the Chesaning Village Council at their Feb. 19 meeting to discuss the proposed fee increase for sewage dumping; which only applies to Sloan Septic Tank Service. Sloan asked about the rationale for the large increase in dumping fees.

Village Administrator Lisa Hitchcock responded, explaining that DPW Director Dennis Sizemore had put the numbers into the USDA Rural Water formula and determined that the village had been losing money on the sewage dump site.

Hitchcock said she had contacted several communities in the area for fee comparisons. Saginaw and Hartland were among the few that responded. The closest was Saginaw which charges $30 per 1,000 gallons. Village President Joe Sedlar, Jr. commented that Flint is twice that, “They’re the highest in the area.”

Councilman Damion Frasier addressed Sloan saying, “If you look at the cost. We’ve lost money due to the pump problems.”

Sloan explained that the village gained points with the DEQ (Michigan Department of Environmental Quality) for installing the sewage dumping pit.

Councilman Don Swartzmiller confirmed, “It moved us up by 100 points with the things we did.”

Frasier commented, “All we got out of it was a low interest rate. We didn’t get any grant money.”

“I sit on the Michigan Septic Association,” Sloan told the council. Sloan contended that the proposed increase to $40 per 1,000 gallons is just too much. He questioned the board’s rationale for making such a steep increase all in one year.

Councilman Michael Cicalo responded, “Dennis [Sizemore] said it costs that much to treat it.”

Frasier explained that last year, the village increased water and sewer rates substantially to residential customers to cover costs. He didn’t feel that they should subsidize the sewage dumping site.

Frasier added, “The upside is, it should have been higher before.”

Sloan stated that there are other locations where he can dump for as little as two cents a gallon; most run 2.5 cents to seven cents per gallon.

Cicalo reiterated, “It costs us to treat it.”

Sedlar said, “We’re not growing. Costs area increasing. If we don’t increase rates, how do we pay for it?”

Cicalo said, “We’re still making improvements [to the dump site].”

Sloan said he didn’t know who designed the improvements for Chesaning, but they’re not going to work. He described the improvements as a hood sitting on a cement wall; “You’re going to have sewage everywhere! You’re wasting your money,” Sloan said. He explained that they had said they wanted his input. Sloan told them about the system he has. “A grate system will work. You need a grit pit there. I’m not an engineer, but I’ve seen proven systems,” he said.

Sloan talked about why the hood with the bar screen won’t work. He told them that the village would actually save quite a bit of money in labor if they made the changes he recommended at the dump site.

“I’m a small town businessman. I spend money in this town, whenever I can. If you want this setup so it actually works, I’d be willing to work with you,” Sloan said.

He continued, “I would be willing to get it set up. I don’t plug anything up in mine. I’ll make that system work.”

Sloan said he knows the village had some engineers design the present setup. “You know as well as I do, things on paper don’t always work out as well in real life,” Sloan told the council.

“I can make that work if you’ll work with me on the price. The average [dumping fee] in the state of Michigan is $30 per 1,000. I wouldn’t have a problem with a $30 rate. I can make it so that receiving station works,” he said.

Frasier countered, “What if the DEQ comes back and tells us we have to spend $2 million?”

Chesaning Chamber of Commerce representative Mark Russell briefly spoke in favor of working with Sloan, since it would both save the village money and Sloan.

Sloan concluded, saying, “You guys discuss where you want to go with this. Let me know if you want it fixed. The grit is plugging it up. I’ll draw the set up for you. You’ve got to stop the grit.”

Sedlar told other council members, “We need it fixed.”

Frasier said, “I don’t have a problem with $30. My concern is the DEQ. If we get shoved into a situation where we have to spend a lot of money, then how can we keep him at $30 per 1,000 gallons?”

Cicalo said, “At $30, we’re operating at a deficit. The village has got to break even.”

Councilman Bill Boyd commented, “What [Sloan] is saying is we’d have less manpower involved.”

Councilman Don Swartzmiller said, “It has got to work for both of us.”

Councilman Paul Gross pointed out that the $30 is a $16 increase.

Swartzmiller said, “I think [Sloan’s] idea has merit. He has a valid point [about the sewage dump station’s design].”

Frasier moved that they approve the schedule of fees as proposed, with the exception of the sewage fee going to $30 instead of $40. The motion was approved with one member opposed.

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