The Noblesville Common Council approved a wastewater and trash bill increase during its July 28 meeting.
The rate adjustment comes after Baker Tilly, the city’s financial advisor, conducted a rate study in the spring and summer. The rate adjustment will go toward covering the City of Noblesville’s Long-Term Control Plan Phase 5.
“We had three major projects that are part of the plans that have been put together and paid for in part by this rate increase,” Deputy Mayor Matt Light said.
The rate increase aids in repairing and renovating two lift stations. Lift Station 9 on Little Chicago Road needs repairs and updates. Lift Station 2 on Allisonville Road needs to be renovated. The increase also aids in completing the fifth phase of the city’s Long-Term Control Plan.
The projected cost for the Lift Station 9 repairs is $1.27 million. The projected cost for the Lift Station 2 renovation is $17.1 million, and the projected cost for the fifth phase of the Long-Term Control Plan is $4.5 million.
“The Long-Term Control Plan is essentially an effort for us to separate our sewer system,” Light said. “So, Noblesville and some other communities, you’ll find this often in county seats, some older communities have some infrastructure that’s more aged where some portion of the sanitary sewer system is combined with the stormwater system. So, when you have large rain events, it creates a couple of problems. First, the untreated sewage can get into the rivers and streams, which creates health and environmental concerns, and then second, the additional stormwater mixed in with the sewage can put more pressure on the wastewater treatment plant and impacts your maintenance.”
Long-Term Control Plan organizers are issuing bid documents later this year and expect to begin work next year. It is slated for completion in 2022. The Lift Station 2 project is estimated to take three to four years to complete, and the Lift Station 9 project will be completed next year.
The bill increase will affect the bills due around Oct. 15 for the September billing statement. The new monthly rate for the wastewater bill is $46.13, a $4.35 monthly increase. The new monthly rate for the trash bill is $13.85, a $2.91 monthly increase, and the combined bill will be $59.98, a $7.26 monthly increase.
The trash bill is increasing as a result of a new four-year contract with Republic Waste Services.
Due to the economic situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, Light said it is an especially trying time to increase a bill rate. The city worked with Baker Tilly to establish a hardship program for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. A $250,000 hardship fund was created for wastewater and a $115,000 hardship fund was created for trash. Residents who either filed unemployment with the state’s workforce development department, sought hardship accommodation with the state’s department of revenue, sought financial assistance from the township trustee or sought assistance from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program are eligible for the hardship credits if they can show proof they applied for assistance from those programs. The hardship credit is $15 off the new wastewater rate and a 50 percent adjustment on the trash rate, leading to a $38.06 bill for a six-month period.
For more, visit cityofnoblesville.org.