Village utilities subject of financial planning workshop

By Tracy Ouellette

SLN Staff

The East Troy Village Board adjourned to a Committee of the Whole meeting at the May 22 board meeting to listen to a financial presentation from Ehlers Inc. representative Jon Cameron. It was the third of four planned workshops with Ehlers dealing with long-term financial planning and capitol improvement projects in the village.

Cameron presented information about the improvement projects and financial forecast of the water and sewer utilities. He said the utilities were in “good shape” financially with the sewer utility looking a little better than the water utility.

Because of the needed capitol improvement projects at both utilities, the Village Board had requested detailed information on what the options were for financing the improvements.

Cameron told the board the biggest issue facing the utilities right now was the uncertainty of the timing of the nearly $7 million needed to make the required phosphorus improvements to the sewer system.

The village has to come up with a plan to reduce phosphorus discharge before the next permit is issued, Public Works Director Jason Equitz said.

“It’s a very fluid situation right now,” Equitz told the board. “The world of phosphorus could be changing again, but we still need a plan.”

Cameron agrees, saying things could change radically over the next couple of years as to when and how municipalities need to reduce their phosphorus, but the reality was, changes were coming and in the case of the village, if those changes happened before the debt falls off from the 2007 sewer plant upgrade, the village would incur new debt on top of old debt until 2027, which would cause significant increases in user fees.

However, because so many municipalities across the state and country are facing similar issues with financing the necessary improvements, it is possible the state or federal government would be working to help local government find ways to mitigate the increases.

Cameron told the board if the phosphorus issue could be “put off” until 2027 (or close to it) it would make a big difference to the taxpayers as the water sewer utilities to handle the other improvements with moderate rate increases every other year or so.

Comments are closed.