The Newburgh Town Council began a conversation about a utility bond that will come with a rate increase if approved.

The council heard information about capacity issues resulting in the proposal for a $22-23 million utility bond in their regular meeting on Wednesday, June 10. Town Attorney Chris Wischer told the council that there are areas in the town’s sewer system where there is limited or no ability to add more volume to the current system.

Wischer said the problem resulted in one planned development moving some planned taps to another part of the system, but the action is only a temporary solution. Wischer said the town’s Utility Committee reviewed a set of projects that would alleviate the capacity issues and included them in a list of projects that are part of a new $22-23 million bond that is being pursued by the utility committee that would require a rate increase.

Wischer said when the last increase took place in 2016, the town forecasted another phased rate increase would need to occur around 2020 and 2021. Similarly, the rate increase is forecasted for four phases — 3%, 3%, 2% and 2% — over the following four years after it takes effect.

“This has been in the works, but, just frankly, because these capacity issues come on so fast — because of the rapid growth out in that area — it’s heightened the urgency to move these projects forward,” he said. “There’s some real issues out there.”

Now, Wischer said the next step is for the council to introduce the bond ordinance as well as rate ordinance in their next meeting and schedule a public hearing for the rate increase. He said it’s critical the council consider the immediate need for a resolution to the capacity issues.

“[The bond will] cover new projects as well as normal increases in cost of providing service including personnel and everything that goes with that,” he said. “So, there’s a lot that goes in to that. Part of it is projects that are very important and time sensitive. We want to make sure we keep moving on at a very rapid rate.”

The council will meet again for their regular meeting on Wednesday, June 24, at 5:30 p.m.

Council awards Lou Dennis contract to Danco

The Newburgh Town Council also approved the bid award for Phase One of the Lou Dennis Community Park project to Danco.

The council opened seven bids in their meeting on Wednesday, May 27. Danco’s bid came in at a total of $1,677,500 for the base bid and add ons which included potential for deducting certain elements.

The base of the bid for the first phase of the project covers the core of the park including the demolition of the old pool, the renovation of the poolhouse, the construction of the splash park and fun zone and improvements to parking and drainage. In addition, Danco’s awarded bid includes the relocation of the basketball court and east side parking as well as concrete stain, but will not include proposed plans for an additional pavilion.

Wischer told the board that everything is now in place to move forward with the construction part of the project.

“All of the approvals have been done and we’re ready to move forward with the project,”he said.

The town is hosting a groundbreaking for the project today (Thursday, June 18) at 11 a.m.

Council moves ahead with historic trail program

In addition, Matt Melfi of Historic Newburgh, Inc. approached the board with an opportunity to enroll in the National Park Service’s Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Experience as a Community Partner. Melfi told the council that the program would allow the town to promote merchants, organizations or events on a national platform.

“It’s an opportunity for free advertising for our community as a whole, individual activities, individual vendors and merchants downtown,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for people from around the country to see what we have in Newburgh and come visit us.”

Melfi said that as a community partner the town would coordinate the process to become a partner and communicate with local partners about participation. He said the program is ongoing and doesn’t have a projected end date.

According to the program’s website, the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail is more than 4,900 miles long, traversing sixteen states and many tribal lands, along the historic route of the expedition. The site states that the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail was designated by Congress to commemorate the 1804 to 1806 Corps of Discovery expedition through the identification; protection; interpretation; public use and enjoyment; and preservation of historic, cultural, and natural resources associated with the expedition and its place in U.S. and tribal history.

“It’s an ongoing opportunity to advertise the town of Newburgh and the surrounding area,” Melfi said.

Ultimately, the council approved a motion to move forward with the program unanimously.

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