North Judson Utility Projects May Lead to Big Rate Hike

The North Judson Town Council is trying to figure out how to pay for some much-needed utility projects, while minimizing the impact on utility rates. Representatives from Commonwealth Engineers and accounting firm Umbaugh and Associates met with the council Monday to discuss the projects and possible funding options.

The first project would upgrade the combined sewer overflow system to bring it into compliance with Indiana Department of Environmental Management regulations. It would include a new storm sewer along Main, Franklin, and Railroad streets, discharging in an area past Arlington Avenue, near the Wastewater Treatment Plant, costing nearly $1.9 million.

Commonwealth Engineers is also suggesting over $1.5 million in upgrades to North Judson’s Wastewater Treatment Plant. That project would improve aerators and add pumping capacity to handle biosolids. On top of that, the town’s also planning upgrades to its water system.

The town may apply for state or federal grants to cover the costs, in addition to issuing bonds. To cover the potential bond payments, utility rates would likely increase, possibly by as much as 54 percent. However, that would depend on state and federal funding options and whether both projects are done at the same time.

While spreading the projects out could lessen the immediate impact, North Judson could save some money in the long term by doing everything at once. Clerk-Treasurer Alicia Collins notes that the utility rates haven’t been raised since 2003, and are due for an increase. The town council plans to discuss funding options in more detail with officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development office.