Kathleen and I want to share our latest report to the CSD last Wednesday (June 20, 2018).
We have been working with our project manager Francine Fua from the State Water Resources Control Board whom some of you may have met at our last Planning meeting on June 7th. Also, we attended the Funding Fair on June 19 to find out what other financial assistance is available. We are applying for a Federal grant from USDA (US Department of Agriculture) for a Rural Development grant. And we are putting in for consideration for County "Block" funds. Basically we are now confident we have approached every entity that could GIVE us money.
There’s lots to digest. But the gist of it is that we probably can get enough to cover the sewer project currently estimated at $13.5 million. We are about $3-$5 million short of our goal for the Drinking Water project (estimated at $17.5 million), but we feel there are still other possibilities to make up the shortfall.
We can't rely on these very preliminary numbers until it happens. Nobody promises anything… But this is the math the State and Feds are using for planning purposes.
One of the big questions for Drinking Water (where we are about $3 million short) is whether the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) will increase the $30,000 amount they typically allocate for each household/connection to be closer to our current estimated cost per household of $67,500. Hopefully they will recognize that their $30K funding allocation per household is not realistic.
We have also looked into loans from the USDA for the Drinking Water shortfall and the best interest rate (for low income areas with health issues) is 2.375% for a 40-year loan. That is a loan factor of 0.03901. Multiply $1 Million times .039 = $39,000. Divide by the estimated number of our hookups (260) = $150/year (or $12.50/month) in financing costs. We can't even afford to borrow $1 million, folks, and keep our monthly rates as low as we would like. So we are looking into an all grant project.
What would parcel owners pay initially to hook up?
Sewer: If we get 100% funding (our goal) then the 200 Sewer hookups in and around downtown Boonville would not pay anything as the State pays for the private laterals to homes. (We are not sure what the situation for commercial businesses is yet — the State has to be sure ALL the sewage is collected correctly in the district service zone — so why wouldn't that also apply to businesses/schools/clinic?)
Drinking Water: If we get 100% funding for the Drinking Water project then parcel owners would have to pay to hook up to the water meter (in a concrete box by street?). But we are still chasing grants for low income/senior parcel owners to cover those costs.
The hope is that for both the Sewer project and for the Drinking Water project there would be no or low costs for hook up. When services come on-line, then monthly rates for operation and maintenance would apply.
What will the monthly rates be? We don't know yet. The State has assigned us consultants to do rate studies and they will advise and audit us closely. Again, the State's objective is to make it affordable for our "severely disadvantaged community" (according to census data) They can't put $31 million into our community and have the project(s) fail.
Remember that we are not requiring hook up to Drinking Water. People can keep their wells. This is so folks can irrigate, etc, with untreated, cheaper water that they already use. Also, some folks on private parcels want to keep drinking their own water. If they hook up to municipal system, then they would have to have a back-flow preventer so their private water doesn't enter the municipal system.
Sewer will probably require everyone in the zone to hook up because the reason the State is paying for it is to control contamination and deal with our public health issues in Boonville.
Now you know everything we know as of today. You are welcome to share this with your neighbors. If you are in the service area and are interested, there are preliminary reports and maps on both projects available. Become your own expert!
Email us with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep checking our website's water-sewer webpage at avcsd.org/watersewer.php
Best wishes and thank you for your participation!
Best wishes, Val Hanelt & Kathleen McKenna, AV Community Services District Board