Village water rates could increase to help pay for new well equipment, building

home : union grove : union grove October 04, 2009

10/3/2009 4:02:00 PM  Email this articlePrint this article 
Village water rates could increase to help pay for new well equipment, building

Karen Mahoney

Federal stimulus dollars have been allocated to the Village of Union Grove to fund new construction for an ion exchange system and building at well number three.

Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the program includes a 50 percent grant and a 50 percent low-interest subsidized loan.

“The estimated $1.2 million construction costs include a 2.67 percent loan over the next 20 years,” said John Andres, CPA for Baker Tilly, Virchow Krause, LLP Energy & Utilities.

Since the drinking water state revolving fund program began in 1997, the EPA has awarded more than $8 billion in grants, which states have turned into $15 billion of financial assistance to fund drinking water projects. The revolving nature of the program ensures drinking water projects will be funded for generations to come.

As beneficiaries of President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the village must comply with stringent transparency and accountability. To that end, Andres stated that a new audit, called the single audit would take effect.

“It is a compliance audit to see if you are meeting with all the rules and regulations of the federal government, such as contractors paying a fair wage and correct quarterly reports in 14 different areas to see if you comply,” he said.

“Another audit report goes to the Wisconsin Safe Drinking Water Association and the EPA. We will be working with the board to make sure you know up front the rules and requirements to comply so there are no questions later on,” he added.

In addition to the audit, which will most likely be completed in April 2011, a rate adjustment will also take place.

“No one wants a rate adjustment, but with a project like this going forth, we have to make sure to handle the other 50 percent loan program,” said Andres, adding, “It has been four and a half years since the rates changed.”

The adjustments won’t happen overnight, Andres said. After Baker Tilly completes a study on the rate increase, it will be filed with the state and take approximately six months for approval. A public hearing would precede the rate hike.

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