Burns and McDonnell recommend no sewer rate increases in Trenton until 2021

City of Trenton Website

While no official action was taken, information was presented yesterday to city officials on a study of sewer rates and the progress of the improvements at the sewer plant in Trenton. Attending the workshop were representatives of the Burns and McDonnel engineering firm plus six members of the city council, the mayor, and other city of Trenton officials. (Absent were Council members Larry Porter and Jenn Hottes)

City Administrator Utility Director Ron Urton quoted a preliminary draft on sewer rates with Burns and McDonnell recommending no increase this year, nor next year.  The engineering company is suggesting consideration be given to possibly a 3% increase in the sewer rates beginning in 2021 and extending each of the following four years. But, again no decisions were made on Monday.

Burns and McDonnel representatives reviewed the draft Sewer Revenue Sufficiency Analysis. It was discussed that nationally, sewer rates are historically increasing about five percent per year due to factors such as reduced growth and consumption, high fixed costs, increasing regulations, inflation on operating and capital costs, as well as aging facilities.

Burns and McDonnell gave a progress report on the work at the wastewater treatment plant. Urton said the project is approximately 25% completed, but what he called critical concrete work is now 95% finished due to favorable weather.

The tentative schedule is for the sewer plant work to be substantially completed in May of this year. The city is under contract with Burns and McDonnel through a design-build concept project. The work is being done by Irvinbilt Construction of Chillicothe.

The group that met Monday at Trenton City Hall also discussed the projected cost of headworks improvements proposed at the wastewater plant. A preliminary cost estimate from the engineers has been about $3,000,000. Burns and McDonnel plan to finalize the cost estimate by March 1st.

Funding is pending for the headworks portion of the project. Urton was asked to contact financial consultant Charlie Zitnik, of the D.A. Davidson Company and the City Auditor Mark Higgins with Conrad and Higgins. They are to provide information about loaning money from one utility department fund such as the electric to another utility department like waste-water.

Another option is for the city of Trenton to pursue borrowing money from a lending institution.

After the workshop, several officials viewed the work underway at the sewer plant.