New Carlisle City Council held a work session Monday evening to discuss the aging water system and how to pay for improvements.
Council discussed several different options and decided to raise rates 20% in 2018, 15% in 2019, 2% in 2020 and 2% in 2021.
The city received the results of the study of the Scarff Rd. water tower and learned that the tower needs extensive repairs.
“The coating on the inside and outside of the tower is not providing enough protection against corrosion of the steel,” said City Public Works Director Howard Kitko. “The water is still good quality, but the paint on the tower isn’t.”
Repairs to the tower will cost the city $115,000 per year for six years. The General Fund will pay the first year’s payment, and the water department will pay for the other five years payments. The water department will also pay back the $115,000 taken from the general fund over three years.
The tower had not seen any maintenance in over 30 years.
“This city has to stop the practice of getting by with barely making it,” said City Manager Randy Bridge. “We need to stop bandaging things.”
Since the city’s four wells are all in close proximity to each other, the ordinance also provides for the drilling of another well, which would begin between 2018 and 2020.
“If there’s a chemical spill on Rt. 235, it could contaminate our water supply,” said City Manager Randy Bridge. “We need a well distant from the current well field.”
A location for that additional well field has not yet been determined.
Council turned down several other proposals. One would have delayed repairs to the tower for three years, and would have raised rates 20% in 2018, 10% in 2019, 5% in 2020 and 2% in 2021.
Another option would have had the water department pay for all six years of repair payments, but would have raised rates 35% in 2018, and 2% per year for three successive years.
Council did not want to draw too much money from the general fund to support the water department because you never know what the future may hold. “We need to keep a healthy general fund,” said Council Member Aaron Leighty.
Kitko also referred to the aging infrastructure under the city streets. Many of the water lines are over 80 years old.
“The water department is an enterprise fund, and has to be self-supporting,” said Bridge.
Council heard the first reading of the ordinance on Monday, and it will be up for public discussion and action at the December 18 council meeting.
In other action, Council approved an ordinance granting incentives to Fab Metals. The company will be building a new 40,000 to 50,000 square foot building and will hire an additional 30 employees. In return, the company will be getting tax credits from the city.
“It’s common practice for cities to give tax incentives to companies to relocate in their city or to expand in their city,” said Bridge.
The December 18 council meeting will also include a work session to devise a levy for the city’s Fire Department. “We are manned 24/7, and volunteers are getting to be hard to come by,” said Bridge. He said additional funds are necessary to keep the level of fire protection that we now have. Bridge said he would like to see a 3 mill levy.
Bridge also announced that Clark County will hold hearings on a county-wide dispatch center. “This will be a massive undertaking by the county,” he said. The project could be paid for with a levy or with the County Commission assessing a $60 annual fee on all developed property in the county.
The next meeting of the New Carlisle City Council will be on Monday, December 18 at 7:00 p.m. at the Smith Park Shelter House. The public is invited to attend.