Town agrees to pay preliminary fees in sewer project

Published 6:43 pm Friday, November 15, 2013

In their separate meetings Monday, the Maplesville Town Council and the Maplesville Utilities Board each committed to paying half of the preliminary engineering fee to Sentell Engineering Inc. for the town’s sewer expansion project.

The preliminary fee would be $11,000 and would be part of the design when the project moves to construction, according to Senior Vice-President John Stevens of Sentell Engineering.

In a letter to Mayor W.C. Hayes Jr. on Nov. 8, Stevens said the basic cost of extending the Maplesville sewer to U.S. Highway 82 and Alabama Highway 22 is $780,000 if the town borrows money.

Stevens said AMFund is loaning money at 3.125 percent interest for 20 years, and the monthly payment is $5.6365 per $1,000 borrowed.

AMFund, through the Alabama Municipal Funding Corporation, was created to assist Alabama’s cities and towns to obtain affordable financing for nearly any size municipal project, according to information on the Alabama League of Municipalities website.

Stevens provided the following list of grant and impact fees available: economic development grant, $200,000; impact fees, $100,000; and West Fraser (bank), $50,000 for a total of $350,000 to be deducted from $780,000. In this case, the town would need a $430,000 loan.

With a higher E.D. grant of $400,000, the town would need a $230,000 loan.

Factoring in commercial sewer customers and residential customers, the town’s minimum monthly revenue is $2,560.50, which exceeds $2,424 monthly payments with a $430,000 loan and $1,297 monthly payments with a $230,000 loan.

“Everyone says you can’t make money in sewer,” Hayes said. “If you don’t have sewer, you’re not going to grow. It doesn’t happen overnight.”

On Nov. 4, town officials including Hayes and utilities board members met with representatives from Sentell Engineering and the United States Department of Agriculture to discuss funding options and design parameters of the project.

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 also said the number of Equivalent Dwelling Units is also used to determine a town or city’s grant eligibility and funding capabilities.

Officials are unsure when they will know whether grant funding has been obtained.