The preliminary financing plan for Westover’s Holland Avenue project includes a two-phase rate increase of approximately 20% for customers of the Westover Sanitary Sewer Board.
During its most-recent regular meeting, Westover City Council reviewed the recommendation of project accountant Zack Dobbins, of Bennett & Dobbins.
The project, currently estimated at $3.9 million, will address about 2,000 feet of Holland Avenue, including failing sanitary sewer and stormwater lines beneath the street’s surface and the large retaining wall that runs along its lower portion.
The city is looking to finance just over $1.5 million of that total through a West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council loan.
City Attorney Tim Stranko explained the accountant’s recommendation includes an initial rate increase of 8.87% in order to meet the working capital requirement of the West Virginia Public Service Commission, followed later by an 11.9% hike in order to cover the debt service on the IJDC loan.
If approved by council those increases would take the average sewer customer’s monthly bill (2,218 gallons) from $17.47 to $21.28.
Council asked project engineer Doug Smith, of Thrasher Group, to continue exploring funding alternatives.
As for the timeline, it looks as if it won’t be possible to obtain the IJDC funding in time to begin the project this year.
Stranko said the current expectation is spring 2024.
In the meantime, council tasked Smith to contact the West Virginia Division of Highways regarding interim repairs for the road until the project can begin.