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Aberdeen approves loan for unique sewer lining equipment

BY BRYNA ZUMER, bzumer@theaegis.com

1:49 PM EST, January 16, 2013

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Aberdeen will soon be just the second jurisdiction on the East Coast to install special pipe-bursting equipment to line its sanitary sewers, Public Works Director Matt Lapinsky said Monday.

The city council approved a resolution at its meeting Monday night to incur a three-year debt to borrow up to $96,000 for the inflow and infiltration equipment.

"It's pretty exciting. Unfortunately, we are not the first municipality on the East Coast to have this capability; we're the second," Lapinsky said, noting Johnstown, Pa., did it first.

City Manager Doug Miller said equipment breaks pipes apart with a hydraulic machine and pulls a plastic pipe in behind it.

He asked for the resolution presented to be changed from a two-year debt to a three-year debt, adding on Fiscal Year 2016.

"In essence, the council is well aware that we have taken the very aggressive action in combating inflow and infiltration into our waste flow system," Miller said, explaining that sewer back-ups "cause havoc on sewer systems."

"Not patting ourselves on the back, I think we have done more than most jurisdictions in combating this," he said. "We really wish to start this now."

The funding will pay for equipment and supplies to do the work.

"We guarantee we will pay this debt off in the three next succeeding fiscal years," Miller said.

The resolution passed unanimously.

Audit results

Finance Director Opiribo Jack said financial statements from accounting firm McGladery LLP showed the city's position improving over the previous fiscal year.

The sewer and stadium funds, however, still posted losses of $120,000 and $212,000, respectively.

The general fund had a surplus of $2.4 million, most of which came from higher property and income tax revenues, as well as Aberdeen Proving Ground utility system management fees and savings from unfilled vacant positions and retirement plan contributions.

The water fund had an income of $2.5 million before transfer of capital grants.

Long-term liabilities increased to $27.8 million and net assets increased by $11.6 million, to $58.9 million.

Property taxes rose by $493,000 while expenses increased by $357,000 over the previous year, mostly attributed to street and sidewalk repairs.

The city's net assets have steadily increased since 2006, Jack said in his report.

Mayor Mike Bennett added: "It was indeed very heartwarming to hear that the city is doing well financially."

Ethics, water fund, recycling bins

Also during the meeting, the council introduced an amended ethics ordinance, which Miller said incorporates changes mandated by the state.

The Water Capital Revolving Loan Program was formally established, as a result of the city receiving $2.6 million from a lawsuit over the gasoline additive MTBE that contaminated the city's water wellfield. The money will be used to finance water system capital improvements under a plan previously announced by the city.

The council held a hearing on a proposal to change the city's code to establish that it is illegal to obstruct access to a city water meter, obstruct a public right-of-way, tamper with a water meter, dump waste or materials into a city storm drain, tamper with a fire hydrant, deface city property, destroy city property or discharge stormwater drainage to the city sewer system.

The bill includes fines ranging from $50 to $1,000 per day for violating the guidelines.

No one spoke at the hearing.

Lapinsky also said he wants to amend the city recycling program to let people buy larger containers that they can also identify as recycling bins.

He said he hopes to produce stickers that would coincide with Earth Day for the bins.

Bennett thanked everyone who helped his family after his father, Freddy Bennett, died on Jan. 5 at almost 94 years old.

He said he was transported back to his family's home in Madison, Ind.

"I just really appreciate the folks that came to the visitation, the cards, letters, we've gotten as a family," Bennett said.

Councilman Bruce Garner said the police program taking Santa Claus through different neighborhoods was successful and covered a larger area, with more than 500 gifts ultimately given out.