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Bedford To Repair Utility Infrastructure
Updated September 17, 2014 7:39 AM | Filed under: Utilities
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(BEDFORD) - Without an adequate utility infrastructure there will be no water to drink, toilets won't flush and factories can't operate. When sewage systems fail, the city can't function and epidemics break out - Bedford would shut down.

"Water and sewer is out of sight and all too often out of mind until something goes wrong," wrote Bedford Mayor Shawna Girgis." The loss of water for everyone in Toledo, Ohio is an example. To avoid catastrophic issues, the City of Bedford has taken proactive steps to define problems, determine steps to correct them, and implement needed projects."

Inadequate utility infrastructure has been a challenge in Bedford for many years. The city began assessing utility infrastructure in 2008 and with the Lochmueller Group developed a sewer plan to eliminate sanitary sewer overflows.

The estimated cost is $29.5 million and the city is requesting 20 years to implement the plan, which was submitted to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM).

IDEM has responded with an Agreed Order. By approving the order the City of Bedford has agreed to a 90 day negotiating period that will determine the timeline for implementing the plan.

Girgis wrote a utility bond that is refinancing debt that will provide $11.5 million for high priority water and sewer projects that will be funded without increasing utility rates.

She added funding through Indiana's Stellar Communities Program cannot be used for utilities.

Additional funding will be pursued for future projects including grants, no-interest loans, TIF funds, and others to reduce reliance on utility rates to pay for mandated improvements, Girgis added.

"Adequate utility infrastructure is vital to the well-being of Bedford and is the foundation on which our community stands. Delays will increase the cost of needed projects," Girgis wrote. "Left undone our ability to attract, as well as, retain business and industry that provides jobs will be damaged. This work is not easy but it is necessary and will be worth it as we build a better community for our children and grandchildren."

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