Crothersville switches firms to aid in funding the water upgrade project


CROTHERSVILLE — The Crothersville Town Council has made the decision to switch agencies that will aid the town with the $9.6 million water upgrade project.

During a recent meeting, the council unanimously agreed to drop Administrative Resources association and use the Southeastern Indiana Regional Planning Commission to help assist in pursuing funding sources for the project.

Both ARa and SIRPC are government-owned agencies that assist cities and towns with projects designed to improve the quality of life for the residents of south central Indiana.

ARa, based in Columbus, is owned by the cities of Seymour, Austin, Batesville, Bedford, Columbus, Greensburg, Lawrenceburg, Martinsville, Mitchell, North Vernon, Rushville and Salem, while SIRPC serves Dearborn, Decatur, Franklin, Jefferson, Jennings, Ohio, Ripley, Shelby and Switzerland counties.

SIRPC, however, does offer assistance outside of those counties.

“Our bread and butter is small towns,” said Mary McCarty, executive director of SIRPC.

McCarty said SIRPC’s economic development team offers assistance by providing the research and project development skills needed for attracting grants and loans such as grant writing.

Crothersville Clerk-Treasurer Danieta Foster shared her concerns.

“My biggest worry is going into the water project and not know what’s going on,” she said. “I want to know that we are going to have someone there that won’t disappear in the middle of the project.”

McCarty said the firm would offer their assistance charge only when their services are needed.

“We feel very confident in getting you through this process,” she said.

ARa files regarding READI 1 funding have been sent to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation and are under review at this time.

“I do appreciate the work ARA has done and I know they have been involved with the project from the beginning, however, I will be honest that there was a lapse in service for a while,” Councilwoman Jamy Greathouse said.

After the Jackson County Commissioners and Jackson County Redevelopment Commission announced in December that officials had elected to not proceed any further with the Uniontown sanitary sewer project’s development, $1.8 million in READI money became available.

That was due to continued significant inflation relative to the cost of construction labor and materials and the current interest rate environment as required to finance the envisioned $25 million project.

To be eligible for the READI money, FPBH Inc. CEO Dan Wright said the town has to have at least 50% of the match money.

He told the council he already has applied for State Revolving Fund money, and he is going after U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development funding, too. The goal is to tap into that money to lessen the impact on residents’ utility bills.

Wright said his company already has done a lot of the design for the project, which has several parts.

One of the biggest issues is the town’s water treatment plant. Work will include renovating the facility, installing a new filtering system and more. That portion will cost around $1,595,100.

Rehabilitation of the drinking water distribution system is another part of the project. According to the preliminary engineering report, the system lacks adequate isolation valving necessary to properly perform maintenance and make repairs. Inadequate valving raises operation and maintenance costs by increasing the number of man hours required to make emergency repairs.

Additionally, a greater number of customers are impacted when these activities are performed.

The project would include replacing the 4-inch ductile/cast iron water mains if providing fire protection with 6-inch diameter PVC, installing a new remote read metering system, eliminating dead-end mains through looping with minimum 6-inch diameter mains, installing new and/or repair inoperable isolation valves and replacing aged hydrants.

It also would include replacing the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system, installing new fire hydrants to ensure adequate fire protection is provided and replacing minor mains.

This part of the project would be the largest cost, around $5 million.

A majority of the town’s supply, treatment and distribution system is nearing the end of useful life, according to the PER. Broken mains are increasingly becoming a concern, as it is estimated that roughly half of the system is more than 40 years old with the remaining components nearing or exceeding 25 years of age.

The final part involves well production rehabilitation and adding a water tower.

Municipally owned and operated raw water source wells in combination with wholesale purchases by means of a contractual agreement with Stucker Fork Water Utility in Scott County comprise the source water supplies that serves Crothersville. The town also is interconnected with Jackson County Water Utility for emergency use, but there are no current agreements to purchase water from the utility.

FPBH says two of the three wells owned and operated by the town are in working order and in production; however, both wells are required to be in serial operation to supply the volume necessary to meet the town’s needs. This leaves no emergency redundancy.

Solutions to increase production of these wells and/or purchase additional supply from wholesale agreements are vital to ensure a proper system operation, FPBH says in the PER.

The well field work would include replacing well pumps and well electrical, installing dehumidifiers, tuck pointing and painting well buildings, rehabilitating the roof on the well buildings and rehabilitating Well 4 and installing a new well.

The new water tower would be constructed on town property at the Crothersville Industrial Park entrance, and a new altitude valve would be constructed there, too. FPBH looked at the well capacity and treatment capacity in town to ensure it could handle a 75,000-gallon water tower.

The town also will need to supply water to some newly annexed areas, and Wright said this project will be an opportunity to do that.

The water tower could help with future economic development and give the town flexibility when maintenance needs done on the existing water tower in town.

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