Fri, Jan. 24

Sanitary District, Town work together

Staff photo by Carol Keefer

Members of the Camp Verde Town Council and the Camp Verde District attended. Jim Ash (looking at camera) was just recently appointed to the district's board to fill a vacant seat. Ash lives in one of the areas that will be affected by the expansion.

Shortly after 5 p.m., motions were passed by the town council with a nod of agreement from district board members and developers, Verde Cliffs, Homestead and possibly others.

The meeting was conducted jointly by Sanitary District Chair Suzy Burnside and Mayor Mitch Dickinson.

It now looks like the council will pursue development agreements with those developers who have a vested interest in seeing the expansion project completed, and an intergovernmental agreement between the town and district, so that Contracts 1 and 2 (pipeline installation) can be completed as soon as possible.

In theory, it has been proposed that the developers would lend money for any shortfall to get contracts 1 and 2 done now and to shore up costs for a redesigned plant, now estimated in the $4 million range. In fairness to the developers, those up-front costs would be repaid by future developers using a pro-rated methodology. It is unknown exactly how much will be needed, but the figure of $3 million was suggested.

Engineer consultant Ken Knickerbocker provided two plant alternative options for the pending plant upgrade. Knickerbocker with Coe & Van Loo Engineering indicated that the Aero-Mod package plant with septage, would run, plus or minus 10 percent, $4,277,000; without septage $3,645,000. The Biolac process, with septage $4,190,000 and without septage, $3,749,000.

The plant upgrade originally proposed by former district engineer HDR, described by many as a "Cadillac" system, does not appear to be working for the district. Only one bid came in for its installation, at more than $9 million, much higher than the engineer had projected.

Rene Toman, with Yavapai-Apache Nation's Economic Development Authority, gave an update on plans for the 10-agency future expansion project. She explained the interface with the 2001 expansion project and why its completion is important to the Nation and the town.

Both the district and town agreed that upon completion of the project, the dissolution of the district and town's acquisition of the district's assets should be put before the voters, possibly in May.

As a safety precaution, it was agreed that the district and/or town will request Water Infrastructure Financing Authority (WIFA) for additional funding beyond the voter-approved $600,000 (for land acquisition) just in case other options fall through.

"If anything happens, they can cover it then," explained WIFA representative Gail Hackney, who attended Wednesday's meeting. "We only take applications once a year. The district might need another million dollars for example."

On Wednesday, Rural Development, the district's lender, announced that they would approve Contract 1, but not Contract 2 or 3 because of too many unanswered money problems. But because the district, town officials and developers came up with what appears to be a logical solution to the problem, RD has been asked to reconsider its position.

The district board meets in special session at 4:30 p.m. on Monday to hear RD's decision, according to Burnside. They will either award or reject bids at that time, or request an extension from contractors until RD can make a determination.

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