AP NEWS

Ludington City Council OKs bonds, contract for wastewater treatment plant upgrade

February 27, 2019

The Ludington City Council on Monday approved the funding and the construction contract for the city’s wastewater treatment plant upgrade, keeping the project on track to begin later this spring.

The council officially awarded the bid and OK’d a $20.6-million contract with Davis Construction, Inc. to be the general contractor for the improvements to the wastewater treatment plant.

To finance the treatment plant project, the Ludington City Council passed three bond resolutions — for $9 million, $8,079,000 and $6,014,000, respectively — totaling $23,093,000 in federal bonds. These will be borrowed from the USDA Rural Development Agency and repaid to the agency during a 40-year period at annual interest rates of 2.375 and 2.5 percent.

The bond agreements will be signed during a bond closing meeting on March 11, which will be followed by a pre-construction meeting to discuss details of the project, such as scheduling invoices and which parts of the work are weather dependent.

“We’re on track to start our project as soon as the weather permits this spring,” Wastewater Treatment Plant Superintendent Chris Cossette told the council during his annual report.

Cossette told the Daily News that one of the major sections of the treatment plant’s renovation — a sludge pond — is frozen over, so the construction will be waiting for warmer weather.

During the council meeting, Councilor Kathy Winczewski asked Cossette what he thinks the biggest challenge for the plant will be.

Cossette said that “half of our capacity to treat will be off-line” as upgrade work is performed in the areas of the renovation. But he said the plant staff is up for the challenge of problem-solving and accommodating the construction.

HOUSE OF FLAVORS

The council also approved an agreement with House of Flavors, Inc. for the company to pay the City of Ludington a total of $1.7 million in extraordinary service fees, spread out in five equal installments at an annual interest rate of 3.375 percent, in order to finance part of the treatment plant upgrade.

The payments are guaranteed by a first mortgage lien on the House of Flavors’ facility at 110 N. William St.

House of Flavor’s payment will fund expanding the plant’s capacity to treat a waste that the company’s ice cream manufacturing facility is the primary cause of.

Sarah Holmes, House of Flavor’s vice president of finance, spoke during the public comment, expressing her gratitude for the agreement and the work of the treatment plant.

“I want to say thank you to all of you and the collective efforts that we work together and put together this partnership for us to continue to participate in the wastewater treatment plant,” she said.

OTHER BUSINESS

The council adopted amendments to the city’s 2018 budget to reflect year-end revenues and expenditures. The general fund’s revenues exceeded its expenditures by approximately $464,100, most of which was due to an unusually high contribution from Michigan’s Local Stabilization Authority, according to Acting City Manager Jackie Steckel.

The council rescheduled the annual Ludington Triathlon for July 28. The triathlon’s former date was deemed to close to an Ironman race event in Traverse City on Aug. 25 that is already sold out of its more than 2,000 tickets, so the triathlon’s organizer requested Ludington’s event to be rescheduled.

The council also heard annual reports from the city’s water treatment plant and utility maintenance departments.