City to buy equipment for treatment plant

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After renting for three years, the Terre Haute Board of Sanitary Commissioners on Tuesday approved the purchase of equipment for the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

Debbie Padgett, wastewater treatment plant superintendent, said the facility has been renting equipment, such as a mini-excavator, skid steer track loader and backhoe, for the past three years. The city has paid $331,000 in rent to United Rentals, but can purchase the equipment for $141,000.

“We pay $11,300 per month for rental, but we can buy this equipment for $11,800 [per month] and own it all in 12 months,” Padgett told the board.

In other business, City Engineer Chuck Ennis told the board that financial work is moving forward to close on a revenue bond that will fund a design of Phase 2 projects for the city’s combined sewer overflow project, such as a new main sewer lift station.

The sanitary board in August approved a revenue bond not to exceed $20 million, but the cost will likely be closer to $13 million, he said.

“We are moving ahead with that bond,” Ennis said. “The plan is once the design is complete, we are going to go to bid and get hard bids from our contractors, then go to the [Terre Haute] City Council with the exact amount for the construction bond. It will take eight to nine months to do the design, so in the fall of 2018, we will be back discussing that bond and the exact amount necessary” for construction, he told the board.

Early construction bond estimates were not to exceed $70 million, with later estimates closer to $63 million, a number Ennis said is “expected to come down significantly. We are at about 30 percent designed now. We have not done any real value engineering on that design. Once we get through the design process, we will have a better engineer’s estimate, and when we go through the bids, we will have the real cost of the project,” Ennis said.

The board also voted to change an ordinance to a resolution. The resolution establishes the same policy, as was adopted in an ordinance, to pursue unpaid and delinquent sewer fees through a property tax lien, but also to pursue, through a private debt collector, unpaid bills from people who have had a property ownership change.

The measure was changed to a resolution as the board does not have authority to pass an ordinance, but can pass resolutions, said attorney Jared Modesitt.

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