Fenton Township residents should not expect a decrease in the sewer rate cost in 2020.
User fees for the sanitary sewer system have cost $255 each quarter since 2007. According to a spring 2016 report by Fenton Township, residents will pay that for at least 10 more years.
In the past few years, the Fenton Township Board of Trustees approved a few bonds relating to the sewer, which have helped the township save money on repairs.
In 2017, the board approved a $1.7-million bond for the same purpose after the township had spent “a lot of money to fix and patch the old stations instead of replacing them,” according to an April 2018 Times story.
In 2018, the Fenton Township Board of Trustees approved the sale of general obligation capital improvement bonds not to exceed the amount of $1.5 million to go to the sanitary sewer system.
It was the second phase of the project to repair or replace the 57 lift stations in the sewer system.
John Tucker, Fenton Township treasurer, said, “In 2016, we had spent $143,535 on repairs and the number was heading north year-to-year. Once the upgrades were made, we spent $20,080 in 2017, $24,610 in 2018 and $27,750 in 2019. So we are experiencing a six-figure drop in annual repair costs.”
Thomas Broecker, Fenton Township operations manager/deputy clerk, said there are no new plans to issue any new debt in 2020.
Sewer fund cash flows remained positive in 2019 due to an increase in new connections and a reduction in debt service expense. The upgrades have reduced maintenance and emergency call expenses, although “that was somewhat offset by emergency call expenses related to heavy rain falls and power outages,” according to Fenton Township meeting minutes.
Specific changes include an increase in connection fee revenue and an increase to emergency call expense.
“We will review the Sewer Fund financial reports after our annual audit has been completed (May-June). While cash flows have improved somewhat over the past few years, I do not anticipate a user rate reduction this year,” Broecker said.