In the March 20th Osceola City Council meeting, the budget for 2018-2019 was presented and approved by a vote of the City Council. Within that budget was the first phase estimated cost for the design and development of Osceola’s new wastewater plant slated to begin construction in 2018. With the initial estimates for the wastewater plant coming in between $16 and $20 million, the budget for 2018/19 includes what Ty Wheeler, Osceola City Administrator calls the initial phase costs, programmed in at $8 Million. Knowing the wastewater plant wouldn’t be completed in a single budget year, the City Council chose to segment funding for the initial phase to cover the amount needed to kick off the project and manage costs.
“What we’re looking to do for financing is use the State Revolving Loan Fund Program (SRF),” said Wheeler. “That’s administered through the Iowa Finance Authority at much lower interest rates than conventional loans or bonds.”
With a SRF loan at 1.75% for 20 years (or 3% for 30 years), versus higher bank or bond financing options, the financing of the wastewater plant comes in lower for long-term costs. Also, by breaking the funding up by budget years – $8 million estimated for 2018-19 and the remainder for 2019-20, Wheeler explained once hard costs are realized for each phase, the City can then amend the project line item to better maintain control of the budget.
With business demand growing on top of aggressive residential development, the Osceola wastewater plant, as it stands, is speeding toward capacity limits. While much of the planned changes for the wastewater plant come from mandated orders through the EPA and DNR as well as Federal guidelines, other updates include addressing corrosion of water lines, stress on existing concrete and infrastructure, as well as volume limitations.
The wastewater plant renovation costs will impact residential and business users alike. But through strategic financial foresight, the City Council and Administrator have been budgeting small, incremental increases in sewage usage fees since 2012.
“This has been done to lower the overall impact users feel from the project,” said Wheeler.
On top of strategic budgeting, Wheeler, the City Council and major wastewater contributors around Osceola are working on cost allocation solutions, potentially lowering the burden passed on to residents.
While the plant designs have not been finalized, some of the updates slated for the initial phase include:
- The design and construction of a new 4,500 sq. ft headworks / administrative office complex with expanded lab facilities
- The paving, infrastructure and updates to the new headworks administrative and lab complex from Country Club Road
- The renovation and site improvements of the current administrative office area to include a supplementary lab area as well as improved employee work stations, offices and storage.
Future plans will address additional design and development of an expanded tank infrastructure, recovery digesters, sludge storage, secondary treatment facilities, and final clarifiers. Strategies to capture the waste methane and other residuals from the wastewater have been discussed and could potentially add to the overall financial support of the facility and its costs.
“The planned wastewater plant will be more than double the size of the existing plant,” said Wheeler. “This will give Osceola the room to grow to accommodate more business and residential development.”
With the current budget approved, plant updates are slated to start as soon as the end of May.