The North Judson Town Council continues gathering information about how to pay for potential water and wastewater upgrades. Commonwealth Engineers is suggesting nearly $1.9 million in improvements to the town’s combined sewer overflow system and another $1.5 million for upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant. Water infrastructure upgrades are also planned.
David Hacker with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development office met with the town council Monday to discuss potential grant opportunities to help cover the costs. Grant funding from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs is also a potential option. Clerk-Treasurer Alicia Collins says accounting firm Umbaugh and Associates will further analyze the potential grant opportunities.
Funding the upgrades will also involve issuing bonds and possibly refinancing existing ones at a better interest rate. Covering the future bond payments could require a significant increase in utility rates, depending on how much grant funding the town gets. Even without the additional expense, the rates are already due for an increase, having stayed the same since 2003.
Town officials have been working with Umbaugh to minimize the impact. Additionally, Collins says Town Superintendent Marshall Horstmann is fine-tuning the infrastructure projects, to prioritize which items absolutely need upgrades and which can wait.
She adds a preliminary engineering report was approved by council members Monday.