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County responds to Phase 2 Washington District sewer questions

The county government answered Westmoreland County Citizens Association’s Phase 2 Washington District sewer project questions one week after the written inquiry was faxed to the office of County Administrator Norm Risavi.
The document submitted by the citizen group known as WCCA noted the presence of sewer project consulting engineer Charles Riedlinger of Resource International at the board’s July 13 meeting.

During the briefing, Riedlinger advised the board of an immediate need to properly accept the Phase 2 sewer project’s federal finance package.
“We understand that this consists of two loans and two grants,” the WCCA inquiry related. “To be specific, it consists of an initial loan in the amount of $3,003,000.00; a subsequent loan in the amount of $1,013,800.00; an initial grant in the amount of $1,500,000.00 and a subsequent grant in the amount of $1,500,000.00 for a grand total of $7,016,800.00.”
“The numbers above are not accurate,” the county government replied in its Aug. 10 document.
According to county government authorities, the project’s financing includes an initial loan in the amount of $3,003,000, a second loan of $1,500,000, an initial grant in the amount of $1,013,800, and a second grant of $1,500,000.
“Can you tell us what the interest rate is on the two loans?” was another question from WCCA.
“Is the interest rate going to be the same for both loans? What is the length of time for paying off these two loans? Do we have an idea of what the county’s monthly payment for these two loans would be?”
“The initial loan is scheduled for repayment over a period of 40 years,” the county government responded.
“The payments due the first 24 months will be interest only and paid annually. Payments for the remaining 456 months will be equal amortized monthly installments at a 4.5 percent interest rate, which provides for a monthly payment of $13,784.00.
“The [second] loan is scheduled for repayment over a period of 40 years. The payments due the first 24 months will be interest only and paid annually. Payments for the remaining 456 months will be equal amortized monthly installments at a 2.75 percent interest rate which provides for a monthly payment of $5,310,000.”
“Do the two grants which total $3,000,000.00 have to be paid off or are they like ‘free monies’?” the citizens’ organization queried.
“The two grants total $2,513,000,” the local government responded. “Grants do not need to be repaid.”
“Do we know at this point what the projected construction costs will be?” WCCA asked the members of the local government.
“Total construction costs have been estimated at $7,691,500,” was the response. “Solid construction figures will be available once the project is put to bid.”
“Have we found land and secured necessary rights of way for the pumping station?” was the association’s next question.
“The last we remember hearing was that the property being looked at in Ebb Tide was not going to work out. Next we remember that you were seeking property in Placid Bay.
“Exactly where will the Phase 2 sewer pumping station be? Have we had the property appraised? What was this cost in dollar amounts for this appraisal? Have we successfully secured the property? Does the county now own this property and have deeds now been issued and filed transferring ownership to the county?”
Two lots in Placid Bay Estates have been identified for use for the pumping station,” the county government replied.
“They are located on Mattox Avenue and identified as tax map #10C-16-4-16 & 17. The Placid Bay Civic Association has agreed to sell the two lots to the county for the appraised price of $12,000. The cost of that appraisal was $600 and was performed by Service Realty Inc. The county will close on the property once the bids have been received, reviewed and accepted.”
Is County Attorney Tom Bondurant handling all of the legal aspects of this project for Westmoreland?” was the next WCCA question.
“Will this [cost] be covered under [Bondurant’s] existing salary or will this mean additional money for him in dealing with Phase 2 legal issues?”
“Mr. Bondurant will be handling all legal aspects of this project, except the bond required as security for the loans,” the county government replied.
“Mr. Bondurant will be paid according to the terms of his contract. Mr. Bondurant’s contract has been provided to the WCCA. All legal expenses will be paid from the project funds.”
“Do we have a current estimate of the costs associated with Phase 2 for the basic engineering fees, inspections, during the process and any additional engineering expenses that could pop up?” was the next question.
According to the county government’s response, $523,500 has been designated to cover basic engineering fees. Inspection services are expected to total $260,000 and $93,250 is being earmarked to cover any additional engineering fees.
“Is there a capacity fee to the Town of Colonial Beach? If so, how much?” asked WCCA.
“$452,250,” was county government’s reply.
“Is there a contingency fee built into the list of costs for this project?” the association queried. “If so, what is this amount?”
“$769,000,” was the answer provided by county government officials.
“How much does Westmoreland County have to put up front in dollar amount as the ‘applicant’s contribution’ to get this financial support from Rural Development?” was the next question.
“$562,000,” the county government replied.
“How many connections does Westmoreland currently have for Phase 2? What does this equate to in dollar amounts?”
County authorities said that it has collected $2,433,248 in its sale of the Phase 2 project’s 691 connections.
“After all of the above questions have been answered,” the association then inquired, “what does the total Phase 2 sewer project cost appear to be at the current time?”
According to the county government, the Phase 2 Washington District sewer project’s total cost has reached $9,983,500.
“How does Westmoreland plan to come up with the money to repay these loans? Are the citizens to expect a tax increase? Will the connection fees and monthly [service] fees be able to make the monthly payment?” was the last question(s) of the set.
”Repayment of the Washington District Phase 2 system loans will be made from the Washington District Phase 2 system revenues (connection fees and monthly payments),” the county government maintained.

 - Betsy Ficklin

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