Officials discuss town’s sewer extension project

Published 7:07 pm Monday, November 4, 2013

Maplesville town officials and utilities board members met with representatives from Sentell Engineering Inc. and the United States Department of Agriculture on Monday to discuss the town’s future sewer extension project.

John Stevens, senior vice-president of Sentell Engineering Inc., provided a preliminary engineer’s estimate of probable construction cost for sanitary sewer line extension, as well as a topographic map indicating where the sewer lines would run and intersect at U.S. Highway 82 and Alabama Highway 22 in Maplesville.

The estimated total cost of a gravity and low-pressure system for the town is about $1 million, including but not limited to materials (about $621,000), construction cost (about $652,000) and engineering design (about $57,000).

Stevens said the total cost of the project could be higher or lower than $1 million by the time construction starts since the cost of materials, and even labor, can fluctuate each year.

An estimated total cost of the project in 2010 was less than $700,000.

“We started working this thing up in 2008,” Stevens said of the project. “We base our fees on percentage of cost for the work. Prices go up and down; you just don’t know.”

Nivory Gordon, area director of USDA Rural Development, said based on U.S. Census numbers he had, Maplesville might not qualify for state grant funding because the town’s Median Household Income exceeds the grant’s MHI limit of $42,352.

Gordon said Equivalent Dwelling Units, or EDU, is also used to determine what is affordable for a town or city and its grant eligibility.

“These funds are set aside for most needy,” Gordon said of the grants.

Gordon said Maplesville could obtain a loan through USDA for the project and possibly pay for a $1-million project over 40 years with installments of about $27,660.

“You have the right setup as long as you can have the ability to repay,” Gordon told Mayor W.C. Hayes, council and utilities board members Monday. “The loan is a good loan. We always want our loans to be sustainable.”

Currently, the Maplesville Utilities Board has 105 sewer customers, of which 102 are residential and three are commercial (business or other non-residential).

Sewer rates for residential customers are: $28.50 for the first 2,000 gallons of water; $5.80 per 1,000 for the next 3,000 gallons of water; and $4.50 per 1,000 for more than 5,000 gallons of water.

Sewer rates for commercial customers are: $84 minimum for the first 10,000 gallons of water, and $7.10 per 1,000 for more than 10,000 gallons of water.

Before construction begins, the town council would have to make decisions, including whether to apply for grants, whether to proceed with construction if no grant funding is secured and whether to approve a loan payment plan in accordance with the town’s overall budget.