Sewer expansion project nears fruition

Years of disappointment, heartbreak and delay are about to come to an end.

On Monday, June 11, the Camp Verde Sanitary District will conduct its last public meeting in regards to its sewer expansion project.

The meeting will allow those within the annexed portion of the district to protest their assessments, or at the very least get an explanation of the method by which the assessment was calculated.

Those residents were annexed into the sanitary district in 1993. They have been waiting ever since for the sewer line to connect to their homes and businesses.

Monday's meeting is the last legal hurdle in what has become a $16 million project.

The assessments being discussed Monday are only for residents of the area that have yet to be connected. Residents of the district currently connected to the sewer are not affected.

But, before it is all paid for, everyone will have a share to pay.

A collection of grants, loans, bonds and some creative financing have made the project possible.

"We have looked at every possible funding source available over the last few months," said Rob Witt, district chairman. "We believe we have the best possible package."

In round numbers, the money coming in for the project is as follows:

• Loan from USDA Rural Development - $4.6 million

• Grant from USDA Rural Development - $1.4 million

• Loan from Water Infrastructure Finance Authority - $4.5 million

• Loan from Koch Financial (secured by property) - $3.5 million

• Proceeds from Town of Camp Verde - $2.1 million

The funds will be used to pay for two contracts to build collection lines -- one from west of Interstate 17 to Bashas', and one from the Reddell Acres and Fort River Caves to the treatment plant.

Those two contracts total $4.5 million.

They also pay $8.1 million for the new wastewater treatment plant.

The remainder will pay for a considerable list of ancillary costs of the project including interest, legal and engineering fees, and a $1 million repayment to ADOT for work they completed during the State Route 260 bypass project.

According to Stone & Youngberg, a firm that has assisted the district with its financing, the primary tax rate for district customers is estimated at $1.66 per $1,000 of assessed valuation in 2007-08. The secondary rate is estimated at 65 cents per thousand.

The secondary tax rate will increase to $1.12 in 2008-09 and then begin dropping every year for the next 20 years.

The primary tax rate, which pays for shortfalls in the operating expenses of the system, is estimated to remain at $1.66 for the near future, but could change depending on how expenses and revenues balance out.

According to Witt, the district still has three easements to finalize, two of which are expected to go to condemnation and one that is awaiting resolution of an estate.

"None of them will interfere with the project," Witt said.

Final loan documents are to be signed on June 13 and the final construction documents will be signed on June 14, according to Witt.

"They can start turning dirt any tine after that and no later than July 15," Witt said.

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