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Two Wapakoneta city elected officials expressed a desire for a city administrator to explore putting offices in an existing building as an alternative to including them in the plans for a new building.
Wapakoneta City Council Finance Committee members reviewed the Water Treatment Plant and the Water Expansion funds Wednesday which included $350,000 for a possible building next to the new Water Treatment Plant on the south side of U.S. 33. The proposed building would house 10 vehicles, supplies, several offices and restrooms.
“I understand the need for storage at the new Water Treatment Plant, but I believe alternatives need to be considered which we can do for less than what the estimate Safety-Service Director Bill Rains has,” Wapakoneta 3rd Ward Councilor and Finance Committee Chair Bonnie Wurst said after Wednesday’s Finance Committee meeting. “We cannot do it for that cost.
“I would like to see them investigate the costs of putting the offices in the existing building and if there is a better way to use the space that already exists in the Water Treatment Plant,” the councilor said. “I understand they would like to store all their equipment and supplies in one location, whether there is room
in the existing building for office space is what I want them to consider.”
Water Treatment Plant Superintendent Brent Hamel provided the proposal to Rains when he was requested to present a plan for what they would need in the future. He requested a 85- by 100-foot garage and storage area with a 30- by 35-foot area for office space.
Wurst would like Hamel and Rains to consider converting a seldom used conference room at the Water Treatment Plant into offices. This would save on the cost of the new building by eliminating offices and restrooms, since restrooms already exist in the plant.
Rains explained the benefits of the proposed building is that it would keep all of the employees in one location instead of forcing them to commute from the former Water Treatment Plant on Harrison Street to the new Water Treatment Plant. They also need space for supplies and storage space for vehicles since they store some in the Public Works Department garage, which forces Public Works Superintendent Meril Simpson to store some of his equipment outside instead of in the building.
Mayor Rodney Metz said no offices were included as part of the new plant because former Mayor Don Wittwer and Safety-Service Director Rex Katterheinrich believed the city would operate both facilities.
The new plant can treat approximately 5 million gallons per day and currently operates at half that capacity. The existing plant was taken off line last year.
Wapakoneta 1st Ward Councilor Jim Neumeier agreed with Wurst’s proposal. He also would like city administrators to investigate refinancing a loan used to build the new $8.6 million Water Treatment Plant. The city currently pays $450,000 in interest on a 5.25 percent loan. The city would save approximately $200,000 if the rate could be reduced to 3 percent range.
The Water Fund is expected to generate $1.63 million in revenue with a cash carryover of $615,412 from 2012. Expenses for the Water Fund total $2.24 million, which includes money for the building and $565,000 for the replacement of 4,500 water meters at $125 each.
The building is optional and the number of meters replaced could be reduced to save money. This would be the last phase of replacing water meters, which now can be read electronically by a person driving a truck down the street.
In 2012, Water Fund revenues totaled $1.58 million, with a $909,735 cash carryover. Expenses totaled $1.87 million in 2012. It also included replacement of water meters.
The next meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. Wednesday.