Sanitary District plans $6.6 million loan with $2 million forgiven by state

Richmond Common Council will allow Richmond Sanitary District to increase its bond allowance to cover an upcoming $11 million project.

Council voted 7-1 in favor of the resolution during its March 6 meeting. Sanitary Director Pat Smoker had presented the resolution Feb. 20, but the council tabled it because three members were absent.

The project, which is expected to cost $11,190,808, will improve the Short Creek Interceptor by replacing the Hayes and Short Creek lift stations. It’s part of the 20-year Combined Sewer Overflow Long Term Control Plan that began in 2010.

RSD only plans to bond approximately $6.6 million of the project cost, receiving $6.6 million from the State Revolving Fund’s loan program. SRF has also awarded $2 million in loan forgiveness. With the forgiveness, RSD would have a $4.6 million loan for 20 years at 2% interest.

The sanitary district will also pay $4,590,808 in on-hand cash that has been appropriated for the project.

“These projects when we were handed the CSO Long Term Control Plan in 2010, it was mandated to get that completed in 20 years,” Smoker said. “In order to be what we considered to be most reasonable for our ratepayers, we adopted with our financial consultants a hybrid plan to pay cash on hand and to bond the projects.”

Council members questioned why the resolution’s bond allowance needed to exceed $11 million when the district only planned to bond the $6.6 million that includes the forgiveness amount. They were told that the entire amount is always included and the two projects were submitted together for better results in the SRF scoring system. Smoker said SRF scored this project second in the state.

The federally required Long Term Control Plan is designed to reduce the times the city’s sewer system overflows during rains and deposits sewage in the Whitewater River. Those occurrences have dropped 85% with the project work completed so far.

Smoker said that if the city does not advance the projects, the Environmental Protection Agency could take over, dictating project rates and schedules.

Council President Jeff Cappa voted against the bond resolution.

“I appreciate what you’ve done, all the work you’ve done on this,” he said, “but I’m not comfortable with the way it’s written, so I’m going to vote no on this.”

RP&L bids

Richmond Power & Light General Manager Tony Foster opened bids for two vehicles and lawn care service during the RP&L board meeting that followed council’s meeting March 6.

RP&L received a single $81,108 bid from Cronin Automotive for a 2023 Ford F350 truck slated for the line department, with delivery in 120 to 180 days. It also received a $175,501 bid for a 2025 Ford F600 bucket truck with delivery in September 2025. Altec Industries submitted the bid, which was $215,501 for the new truck minus $40,000 trade-in value.

Pro Turf of Williamsburg, The Yard Guy of Hagerstown, B.O.L. Lawncare of Fayette County, White Oak of Richmond and Greenleaf of Richmond submitted bids for mowing RP&L’s service building and 21 current or vacant substations. The bids were broken down by property and not totaled.

RP&L will evaluate the truck and mowing bids.

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A version of this article appeared in the March 15 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Mike Emery is a reporter and layout editor for the Western Wayne News.