HUNTERTOWN — During an Aug. 5 meeting of the Utility Service Board, Town Engineer Derek Frederickson offered dollar figures for utility capital improvements eventually needed to address the town’s projected growth. The board and the Huntertown Town Council have discussed during several meetings this year the need to implement surcharges to new customers in order to pay for the eventual capacity improvements.
While the improvements are not short-term necessities, Frederickson said the town will eventually need an estimated $7.1 million in improvements to its sewer utility and an additional $1.8 million for water improvements.
“This is not something that’s been vetted out with staff, and I’m not recommending that you move forward with these kinds of improvements, but (I’m saying) you will at some point need to boost pressures in the north zone, you will need to add more water storage, and I believe we have captured that cost regardless of how you decide to handle it,” Frederickson told board members.
Projects that will eventually be needed on the water utility in order to accommodate new customers include an increase in water storage from about 700,000 gallons to roughly 1.5 million, increasing one of the pressure zones at the town’s old water plant, and adding a water loop at Shoaff Road to service the Brownstone development.
On the sewer side, the town will be faced with installing a new force main between Cedar Canyons and Woods roads, and making improvements to Woods Road, as well as installing a new force main from the town’s Creekside lift station to its new wastewater treatment plant — which alone accounts for about $4-5 million of the nearly $9 million in future improvements “if the development community is going to be able to continue to expand like they currently would like to,” Frederickson said.
In addition to a monthly surcharge for new sewer customers, Frederickson said the town could follow Fort Wayne’s lead in implementing a one-time system development fee for new water customers. New water customers currently pay a tap fee of $75, a $500 connection fee and a water meter fee that varies based on meter size. Huntertown charges roughly $260 for a 5/8th-inch meter, compared to the $580 the city of Fort Wayne charges.
“All of this background information is essentially establishing a justification for establishing a funding source for these kinds of projects,” Frederickson said. “… The question comes down to what should Huntertown’s charge be, if anything?”