Water line infrastructure upgrade will cost customers more

Village of White Pigeon water customers could end up paying $24 more per quarter than originally predicted as a result of an upcoming, system-wide upgrade.

That figure is three times the amount project officials first estimated.

During a special village council meeting last week, Ken Jones, of South Bend-based Jones, Petrie, Rafinski Corp. engineering, explained the potential increase was the result of a status designation the village did not receive.

He said preliminary rates were based on a project-cost estimate and terms of a state loan agreement. Both included designation for the village as a “disadvantaged community.” Jones said he was told White Pigeon will not earn the “disadvantaged community” status.

As a result, the debt obligation for the loan went from $8 to $24 quarterly per residence.

Optimistically, he said as the project enters its second and third phases, there’s a possibility White Pigeon could achieve “disadvantaged community” status because of the rate increase created by the first phase, which will start this fall.

Phase one involves a 10-inch water main from the Grand Elk Railroad tracks east along U.S. 12 to White Pigeon’s eastern village limits.

Potentially sporting a price tag of at least $14 million, the task involves replacing the village’s water line infrastructure, most of which is estimated to be more than 70 years old.

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