Williamsburg residents will soon be paying more on their sewer bills and will likely be seeing steady increases for the next several years in order to pay for necessary repairs and improvements to the city’s wastewater treatment system.
Earlier this month, the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority (KIA) approved 11 loan applications, including a $2,456,489 loan application from the city of Williamsburg.
The loan is designated for improving existing infrastructure, replacing sewer lines with large PVC, man holes, and a pump station.
The city is under an agreed order with the Kentucky Division of Enforcement in the state Environmental and Energy Cabinet, which was issued in 2010 due to sanitary sewer overflows.
“We are borrowing money to finish a list of projects that would get us out from under an agreed order that we have been under for quite some time,” explained Williamsburg Mayor Roddy Harrison after Monday’s monthly city council meeting.
Progress on the project was one of the issues discussed during Monday’s meeting.
Harrison said that to fix an iodine problem at the sewer plant and do other work is expected to cost the city about $1.2 million.
The loan will also allow the city to refinance an existing bond issued by the city in 2002 that had a 4.5 percent interest rate, which will reduce the debt service costs by about 6 percent overall.
The new loan is repayable over 20 years at a 0.25 percent interest rate.
Harrison told the council that the infrastructure authority seldom approves a loan to refinance existing debt.
He added that the refinancing would enable the city to pay off the debt quicker.
Harrison said that he would not know how much sewer rates would have to increase until a rate study is complete.
He said the city plans to gradually increase its sewer rates over the next few years in order to pay for the repairs.
Harrison said that the only way for the city to get the loan was to agree to increase sewer rates to pay for it.