Tim Harmsen of the Arcadis engineering firm is well aware of financial challenges ahead for Fayette to pay for planned upgrades to the sewer system. He believes some help is needed from a source that doesn’t yet exist.
“The only way you’re going to be able to pay for this plan is if you grow,” he told council members Thursday.
There’s a catch hiding in that statement.
“To grow, you need additional treatment capacity.”
The village sewer treatment system can’t handle more growth. If a new housing development or industry were proposed for Fayette, the treatment system wouldn’t be able to accept the additional waste.
Harmsen’s long term control plan for the village includes a seven-year break from sewer separation projects beginning 2010, during which time a new sewage treatment system would be constructed.
“By placing the treatment system early,” he said, “it allows the village to collect some capital and it will allow you to grow.”
He estimates the cost at $3.2 million. If the new plant allows industrial growth, new revenue from income taxes and water and sewer fees could help pay for the sewer separation project.
Arcadis considered other options for handling excess flow and decided a packaged treatment system makes the most financial sense. The system would allow continuous discharge of treated water.
The long term control plan that will be submitted to the Ohio EPA for approval doesn’t commit the village to installing a new treatment system nor to a specific type of plant.
Harmsen has some concerns about the Ohio EPA allowing the village to take a seven-year break from the separation project.
Village administrator Tom Spiess thinks the village should be given credit for the $1.5 million of sewer separation work done in the past.
Spiess said he intends to work on economic development issues after he leaves his administrator post at the end of this year.
“Our budget is built on jobs, not property taxes,” he said.
Industrial buildings are filled, Spiess said, but that hasn’t led to the replacement of jobs lost when Fayette Tubular Products closed in 1997.