Holland project financing takes shape

From left, Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch presented Holland Town Council President Tom Thacker with water tower funding from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs at the Statehouse Wednesday as Thacker was flanked by Midwestern Engineers’ Jon Craig, Indiana 15 Regional Planning Commission Senior Project Administrator Nathan Held and OCRA Executive Director Jodi Golden.

By BILL POWELL
bpowell@dcherald.com

HOLLAND — On a busy Wednesday, Town of Holland officials accepted a state grant in Indianapolis for a $1.13 million water tower upgrade, then closed out the day with a public hearing on proposed water rates and charges connected to the project.

The $600,000 grant Holland received from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs this week goes toward rehabilitating the Holland water tower and replacing a small Stendal tower with a 50,000-gallon replacement. A portion of a 19.3 percent rate increase proposed for system customers covers the financing package for the work. It could be implemented to cover March consumption.

Holland was one of 70-plus rural Indiana communities recognized by Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch and OCRA officials Wednesday at the Statehouse for striving toward quality of place improvements like water system enhancements, historic building restorations and downtown enhancements.

“Today is a great day to celebrate all the successes, collaborative efforts and planning our Hoosier communities have achieved this past year,” said Jodi Golden, OCRA executive director. “Our office was fortunate to help make our rural cities, towns and counties better places to live, work and play. I’m excited to see how the communities will continue to grow this funding.”

Town Council President Tom Thacker accepted Holland’s grant from Crouch and Golden, flanked by Indiana 15 Regional Planning Commission Senior Project Administrator Nathan Held and Midwestern Engineers’ Jon Craig, the Loogootee firm’s business Development Manager and former three-term mayor of Petersburg.

The remaining $532,000 that’s needed for the water tower project will come from the State Revolving Fund in a package split between a $265,000 SRF grant and low-interest loan all designed to keep an average family consuming 4,000 gallons of water a month paying about $45, according to Thacker. SRF loan programs provide low-interest loans to Indiana communities for projects that improve wastewater and drinking water infrastructure

No residents commented on a proposed 19.3 percent increase to water rates and charges during a public hearing Wednesday at Town Hall, 505 W. Main St., Holland. That proposed hike will find the average 4,000-gallons-a-month family paying $45.02, up from $37.72. Minimum users would pay $26.36, up from $21.08.

The proposed increase will both finish funding the water tower work and cover wholesaler increases being passed on by the Patoka Lake Regional Water and Sewer District and St. Henry Water Corp. About 8 percent of the total projected increase is to cover the wholesale suppliers’ increase.

“We’re going to have a very nice project without getting hit too hard,” Thacker said. “I think we’ve done very well.”

The project is addressing the rehab needs of the 200,000-gallon water tower in Holland and replacing the smaller, 20,000-gallon tower in Stendal that dates to 1960.

The Holland water tower near the elementary school needs to be repainted after pits and seams are addressed and a new ladder installed. It was last painted 16 years ago. The rehabilitation work is estimated to cost $389,000.

Stendal’s tower has been repaired many times over the years, and was out of commission for a month in the fall of 2014. A costly rehabilitation was out of the question, because the globe-shaped tower is so small that it starts freezing in the coldest part of winter.

Holland will construct a new 50,000-gallon tower for about $428,000. The old one will remain in use until the modern replacement is ready to go online.

The Lockhart Township Community Club has contributed to the project by donating land north of the existing Stendal tower for its replacement.




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