News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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September 12, 2013

Sanitary District 2014 budget up for public review tonight

TERRE HAUTE — The city’s Sanitary District 2014 budget is up for public review tonight in City Hall.

Members of the public are invited to ask questions or make comments at a hearing at 5:45 p.m. in the city court room. The same hearing will cover the City of Terre Haute budget.

The Sanitary District budget, which adds up to about $10 million, includes money for mowing about 28 miles of creek and ditch banks along Lost Creek and Thompson Ditch, said Chuck Ennis, city engineer. It also includes money for removing log jams, installing pipe for drainage improvements, installing dry wells and work on the North Sixth Street drainage improvement project. Much of that funding comes from the city’s sewer bill ratepayers.

The lion’s share – about $7 million – of the Sanitary District budget pays to service debt on outstanding bonds, including those used to pay for “combined sewer overflow” (CSO) projects mandated by the federal government. This portion of the sanitary district budget is largely funded by property taxes.

The city’s CSO projects will total more than $100 million over the next 18 years, according to the city’s “long-range control plan” for reducing sewer overflows into the Wabash River. The overall project includes installing new storage facilities – above ground and below – for combined storm and wastewater and other improvements.

The city’s sanitary district was launched about 50 years ago to build the Terre Haute wastewater treatment plant, Ennis said.

Once local government budgets are approved, they are available for review on the state of Indiana’s “gateway” website. Until then, tonight’s meeting may be the best chance for members of the public to ask questions about sanitary district spending in 2014.

The Sanitary Board of Commissioners is expected to adopt the budget at 10 a.m. Oct 1 in the third floor conference room of City Hall.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com

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