2018-04-25 / Front Page

An open letter from Cloverdale town clerk

Cloverdale is off the agreed order!

Greeting from the town of Cloverdale. We have exciting news!

As of March 1, 2018 the town was released from IDEM’s oversight for the town keeping in compliance with the operation of the Waste Water Operation.

What does that mean to the utility payers in the town? The most important is we don’t have big brother overseeing everything we do, although we will work very hard not to give IDEM an excuse to come back and smack our hands.

It also means the town has no restrictions on hooking up to the sewer lines and we can market the property around the Interstate for new businesses.

It also means we should have extra dollars to continue lining the main sewer lines that are cracked or failed from the ground moving and letting surface water seep/pour in and go to the plant where we then are treating rain water, which gets costly.

Your associates have worked very hard on your behalf and it will not be long before you will reap the rewards of a lowers sewer bill. (No promises but it is what we are working very hard to accomplish) Although, there are several steps before we get to that point.

• As I mentioned earlier the main sewer lines that are in need of being lined. (Star Dust area)

• Lift Station #1 just bought a backup pump and repaired one that is being used currently. We also need to purchase a generator. It is one of the larger lift stations and works hard all of the time and if it loses power, well, that would stink (pardon the pun).

• Lift Station #2 also needs a backup pump and is needing repairs on the pump that is currently working. IDEM strongly suggested a generator for this one also which we absolutely will purchase.

• Lift Station #3 is small and services six homes. It will need to be replaced with a new unit and although that sounds expensive the town associates should be able to do it themselves, which will save you money.

• Lift Station #4 is the newer one and bought through an IOCRA grant for $500,000. The only needs this one has are a backup pump.

• Lift Station #5 has no needs

• Lift Station #6 needs routine maintenance, like flushing it several times a month because it is so far away from the plant. Your associates remain faithful in this service although a few grumbles are heard because that one does stink.

• Lift Station #7 has no needs.

• Blower for the Waste Water Plant

• A few manholes need replaced and riser put on some.

The improvements that were accomplished to get us off the agreed order were:

• Ultra Violet lights that kill the remaining bugs before being emptied into Rabbit Run Creek. This was purchased with the help from the Food and Beverage Tax that the town applied for in 2013 to help lower your wastewater rates by creating another revenue source to fix issues that IDEM was demanding us to address.

. If you remember in October 2012 we had to raise the Sewer rates to a $70 flat fee. (Citizens that have one or two living in the home and didn’t use much water were hit hard, but larger families were less impacted because no matter how much water they used it was $70 only on the wastewater side and then the cost of the water used). By June of 2014 we lowered them back down based on water use. So the more water used, the more the cost of the wastewater to treat the water used. Makes sense.

. When you put me in office in 2012 and the bills were paid the first of every month the wastewater fund would be as low as $30,000. When the end of the month came along and you made your payment the fund went up to $90,000 give or take. The Waste Water Bond for the new sewer plant that was built late 1990s and earlier 2000s (there are three bonds (2003, 2006 and 2007) equal to $4,100,000 and the town is responsible for monthly payments of $23.700.20. Yes every month!). If we had a hiccup we would not be able to make the bond payment. Now, on the other hand, is a different story. The future looks brighter than ever because in 2023 one bond will be paid off (five short years) and 2026 and 2027 that debt will be paid free and clear. A saving of $23 on every utility bill you receive.

If the town fills every vacant home and more people live in our town the less each will have to pay because you have more people paying on the debt. (That is why the Town Council is working so hard to update our nuisance ordinances and addressing vacant and abandoned homes and homes in need of repairs.)

. Can you imagine if we didn’t get the Food and Beverage Tax, how all the repairs could have been accomplished (very high sewer rates). The plant had to be fixed we had no other options.

Let me tell you a little bit about that Food and Beverage Tax. House Bill 1071 was authored by State Rep. Jim Baird with support from Senator Rodrick Bray. The Bill authorizes a municipal legislative body to impose and ordinance to implement a municipal food and beverage tax not to exceed 1 percent of the gross retail income received from retail food and beverage transaction. The funds can only be used for water, wastewater and storm water projects. Not to lower your utility bills directly but add funds to the utility for repair or replace equipment, pay off bonds etc.

When we addressed the Ways and Means Committee, Chairman Tim Brown from Crawfordville and Rep. Suzanne Crouch Vice President along with 22 other Representatives, heard our plea of folks coming off the interstate to eat and use the restroom. We asked that these fine visitors could help pay the $4,100,000 bond. We told them of the high utility rates you were paying and you needed help. They agreed and then the HB 1071 went to the Senators where Senator Rodrick Bray stepped up.

It eventually passed and an Ordinance 2013-4 was created and was a turning point in the success of getting off the agreed order. Your utility rates were lowered (2014) and were not raised since 2014. I feel the council should take some responsibility in this success too because they stayed within the budget even when the citizens complained or they felt like raises for the associates were warranted, or a piece of equipment needed replaced. They stayed true to you and the budget.

Other improvements to get us off the agreed order

• Dump Station that attaches to the head works

• Sampler that randomly catches samples to be tested

• Influent system to reuse the treated waste water for cleaning the clarifiers

• Flow meters registering high flows in the manholes

• Keeping track of homes that sold and checking to make sure laterals are functional

• Sewer lines in the downtown have already been lined.

• You installing back flow preventer on laterals.

I know you were not involved in quarterly meetings with engineers and IDEM associates, or paying invoices that dealt with the agreed orders, but I hope you can get excited for the fact that another major hurdle has been accomplished and our town is better for it.

Return to top

Click here for digital edition
2018-04-25 digital edition