$32 surcharge to be added to Elliott residents' water bills

ELLIOTT — Elliott Village Board members unanimously approved adding a $32 surcharge to residents’ bimonthly water bills Tuesday night to help finance the repayment of a $205,000 bond that was obtained to cover costs of repainting the town’s water tower.

Board members learned the bond will be financed by the Bank of Gibson City at an interest rate of 3 percent. However, issuing the bond will be delayed by 30 days due to a page being left out of the documentation. The error was discovered by Tim King with Kings Financial Consulting of Monticello, who has been assisting the village with the bond issuance.

To finance repayment of the bond and interest plus related costs, board members approved a surcharge of $32 per billing cycle for each of the village’s 130 water meters. Water bills are sent every other month, meaning an annual increase to residents of $192 per year.

The surcharge will be assessed each billing cycle of the 12 years during which the bond will be repaid. Bond payments will be made quarterly by the village.

However, unlike a tax, the surcharge will be removed after 12 years. The total cost for the surcharge per meter will be $2,304. If a rental property is not occupied, the property owner will then be assessed the surcharge during the vacancy period.

All occupants and property owners will receive a letter explaining this during late March, well in advance of the first surcharge, which will appear on the May 1 bill.

The surcharge will generate an estimated $300,000 of revenue, which will cover the painting and sandblasting work, interest charges, and engineering and consulting fees. Fees to date have been paid from the general fund, but they must be repaid from the water fund.

The 50,000-gallon water tank was last repainted in 2014, but paint started flaking off soon after, according to Village Board President Russell Ehlers. Some extremely cold weather then hastened the flaking.

To avoid a repeat situation, the 68-year-old tower will first be sandblasted to create clean and smooth surfaces for paint. The surfaces will receive three coats of paint, ending in a shiny surface, Ehlers said.

The work will be done by Viking Industrial Painting of Omaha, Neb. The firm was the low bidder for the job at $198,000.

The new paint will have a 25-year life expectancy, Ehlers said.

Ehlers said he worked with state-level officials to see if there would be a chance for recourse against the previous contractor, but he was told there was not.

The water tower is currently a light blue with black lettering. After some discussion, board members narrowed colors to the blue family. They then voted unanimously in favor of a slightly darker, medium shade of blue known as “fountain blue.”

The village name of “Elliott” will again be painted in black lettering on the north and south faces of the bowl.

Location (3):Local, Elliott, Ford County

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