Thursday, May 25, 2006

Sewer Comments From Former St. Leon Town Council member

I have no idea where Freemond gets his information but it is obviously from someone who does not know the facts and he selectively chooses to challenge those aspects of the Sewer operation that will continue to inflame some 130 people and not resolve the issue. His remarks are an insult to the some 900 intelligent people that made the correct decision some 10 years ago and connected to the sewer system as was required. I do not know if he is one of the 130 that made the wrong decision. He knows little or nothing about how the system operates and does not take the time to become informed. This system is a 'low pressure' system that operates differently then a 'gravity' system. The original collection lines that were installed were in reality two separate collection 'loops', one on the North side of I-74 and the other on the South side that were independent of each other.

He talks about the School Corporation paying for the upgrade of the recent line installed which is completely untrue. The School Corporation paid for only those portions of the Sewer connection that effected them just as any other developer is required to do in order to connect to the system. I am sure the minutes of the public School Board meeting at which I (Town Council member) discussed these issues with the Board are available and should reflect the Corporations responsibility for payments to the Sewer. Perhaps Freemond should contact them for those minutes. The size upgrade of the line and other mainline extensions was done at the expense of the Sewer. These upgrades were undertaken for four specific reasons;

1. The School Corporation indicated to us that they had another School building of equal or greater size that was on the drawing boards that would be constructed in a few years. We then on our own fiscal initiative and expense, decided to increase the line size which saved them the expense of doing it at a later date.

2. We connected the South side 'loop' to the North side 'loop' which accomplished several money saving issues one of which is that the flow from the South 'loop' can be reversed in the case of an emergency such as what happened when the County broke the line on Whites Hill Road this past year. This ability saved time money and aggravation for the Customers served on the South.

3. In order to make this work efficiently we completed the line in the Town and closed the 'loop' down Hwy. 46. Again this will save the customers money by doing this now rather then later.

4. During the Engineers study of this project, it was discovered some inconsistency in the original installation that was causing the system to operate inefficiently and would have caused serious problems down the road. By upgrading at this time it prevented some very costly repairs in future years.

You can see that every thing that was completed at this time was done on a fiscally responsible basis with the Customers well being in mind. These upgrades at this time allowed us to scale back the rate increase that was recently enacted.

Municipal Bonds are different from other bonds in that not only the integrity of the Town is at stake but also financial viability is on the line. When a Town submits a proposal for bonds it needs to show how those bonds will be repaid. This includes a cash flow chart that shows when and where will the money come from and when will it be paid off. Revenue sources need to be shown, and in the case of the sewer the only revenue sources are 'connection' and 'user' fees. If you show that there will be XXX number of customers that will be providing that revenue you then need to provide a contract to collect those fees. The only legal way this can be accomplished is through an Ordinance that in essence provides a contract with the customers. All of the Ordinances that were enacted were done so according to the State Statute in an open advertised public meeting. Few if any customers were at those meetings to learn about the fee structure and other provisions much less voice their opinion one way or the other. It is easy 'after' the fact to criticize when you have no input into the discussion and to distort the facts when you are not present when they are presented.

It would be in the best interest of every one to get the true facts before they continue to spread rumors that are untrue. Once you understand why certain actions were taken you will see that the best interests of customers and the Citizens well being were the driving force. Should Freemond want to get the TRUE FACTS I will be glad to inform him.

Chuck Andres

St. Leon

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