St Martin’s by The Bay 5/30/23
Mr. Robert Mitchell
Director of Environmental Engineering, Worcester County
Post Grant award of $1,024,000.00 from USDA questions:
While we are aware the exact costs will not be known until after the public bid opening, we are attempting get the closest possible understanding of future costs at this time to best prepare our community for the installation of a new County owned water system. We have several questions so we can begin the process.
1)A community vote was held in early 2017 to have the County further explore the possibility of providing public water to St. Martins. The vote was greater than the needed 67% approval rate to proceed. The County has since done a Preliminary Engineering Report (P.E.R.) dated Nov. 2021 and received a grant from the USDA for $1,000.024.00. Is an additional vote required from the Community to move forward with design and construction?
2)According to a recent email this year, you told us an easement to tie-in to the 8” water main at River Run was not granted. This easement issue applies to options 3 and 4 according to the P.E.R. Can we assume these two options are no longer viable, and the only remaining options are 1 and 2?
3)If the USDA has authorized a grant of $1,024,000.00 which you stated covers 41 percent of the anticipated costs, this means the total cost is estimated at $2,497,560.00. This would leave the Community having to finance the difference of $1,473,560.00 which may be difficult to afford. Our Community voted to proceed in 2017 based on the County estimate in 2019 of $750,000.00 with the hope at least a portion would be covered by a grant. While we understand the initial estimate(s) may have been low, can you please help us better understand why the number seems to be so high?
4)Since the P.E.R options 3 and 4 (tie-in to River Run) are no longer being considered due to easement issues, what is the present recommended option at this point. Option 1 that connects at St. Martins Lane and Beauchamp Rd, or Option 2 connecting to White Horse Dr with a bore under Beauchamp Dr? Both options in accordance with the P.E.R were approximately $1,600,000.00. Can you please explain where an added cost of almost $900,000.00 comes from?
5)Given the grant portion is known to be $1,024,000.00, the remainder above this amount we assume the Community will have to repay to the County through water bills per each EDU. At this time do you know the interest rate, and length of such loan so we can judge affordability?
6)Per the 2022 County “Assessments and Charges” for various water and sewer rates, will we be charged per EDU, the same amount as River Run (water only) at the minimum quarterly rate of $56.00 plus $.50 per 1,000 up to 10,000 gallons, and $1.09 per 1,000 gallons, over 10,000 gallons to 25,000.00 GALLONS? We understand the P.E.R. has an estimate of 18,000 gallons per quarter per EDU. Using this average per household, this works out to approximately $69.72 per quarter, or $23.24 per month. Other than servicing the loan debt, are there any other fees or charges we should consider?
7)We cannot seem to find any “as-builts” for our existing water and sewer system. Is there any chance upon further investigation the County may have a copy? We believe finding them will help reduce cost in test pitting for the design phase, and/or reducing contractor risk in not knowing where the present water and sewer lines are buried.
As you can see by our questions, affordability is key to getting the Community on board with the expense of a new water system. The more information we have, the better prepared we will be to inform our neighbors.
Thanks again for your hard work, getting us to this point. Hopefully you can find time this Thursday of Friday to meet with us. I will follow up with an email to confirm.
St. Martins By the Bay, Board Member.