Stark County commissioners met Thursday to review a draft agreement with Canton that outlines how much each entity would contribute toward the $89 million upgrade to the Canton’s sewage plant, which could be the single largest public project in Stark County’s history.
Negotiations continue between Stark County and Canton City government officials on how much each should pay toward what could be the single largest public project in Stark County’s history.
The result will determine how much sewer rates will increase for 46,270 Stark County sewer customers. Canton already has approved a series of sewer rate increases to cover its expected costs.
The estimated $88.6 million project will overhaul Canton’s Water Reclamation Facility so it can better remove phosphorous and nitrogen, which at elevated levels can cause an overabundance of plant life such as algae and other aquatic plants in lakes and streams. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has told Canton it must lower its phosphorous levels by 2018. City officials expect the state to soon also mandate lower nitrogen levels.
Stark County commissioners met Thursday to review a draft agreement that changes how much the county, Canton and North Canton, which also sends its sewer to Canton for treatment, are expected to contribute toward the plant upgrade as well as future improvements. The agreement does not cover how much each entity will pay toward the operation and maintenance of the facility, which is an expense that is calculated separately.
Under terms that have been in place since 1995, expenses to upgrade the treatment plant have been split with Canton paying 53 percent, Stark County paying 41 percent and North Canton paying 7 percent.
Under the proposed agreement, Canton would pay 51 percent, Stark County would contribute 47 percent and North Canton would pay 2 percent. The change means the county’s share for the proposed $88.6 million project would be $41.7 million.
Stark County Sanitary Engineer Jim Jones said the county’s higher contribution figure partly reflects an increase in the amount of sewage that the county likely will send to the Canton plant over the next 20 years. He said Canton also has lost some of its customer base and doesn’t need as much capacity has it previously did.
Currently, the county has the ability to send 15.9 million gallons of sewage per day to the city treatment plant — enough to fill up an Olympic-sized swimming pool 24 times. Under the draft agreement, the county’s capacity would increase to 18.3 million gallons of sewage a day.
David Bridenstine, a former assistant Stark County prosecutor who commissioners hired as special legal counsel for the project negotiations, said Canton also has agreed to not pursue repayment for prior expenses that it felt the county should have paid in exchange for the county’s higher cost share.
The agreement reviewed Thursday doesn’t include a schedule of when Canton expects to begin payments on its low-interest loans that will finance the project. The schedule will tell commissioners how soon they need to seek a sewer rate increase in order to pay the county’s share of the costs. The last time the county has increased its sewer rates was in 2008. Homeowners who use the county service now pay $22 per month.
Page 2 of 2 - Bridenstine said several other ancillary issues dealing with the operation and maintenance of the facility will be negotiated separately from the proposed agreement.
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Here’s a breakdown for the estimated cost to upgrade Canton’s Water Reclamation Facility so it can better remove phosphorous and nitrogen:
Equipment purchases: $28,179,800
Remaining design costs: $2,289,500
Engineering assistance during construction: $1,414,000
Total estimated cost: $88,643,000
Stark County and Canton officials continue to negotiate on how much they should contribute toward the planned $88.6 million upgrade to Canton’s sewer treatment plant. Here’s how much each currently contributes and how much each would contribute under a draft agreement reviewed Thursday. North Canton officials already have approve their share of the cost.
Current cost share Current capacity (gallons per day) Proposed cost share % Proposed cost share $ Proposed capacity (gallons per day)
Canton 52.7 percent 20.6 million 50.9 percent $45.1 million 19.8 million
Stark County 40.8 percent 15.9 million 47 percent $41.7 million 18.3 million
North Canton 6.5 percent 2.5 million 2.15 percent