FORT WAYNE – Fort Wayne City Council members unanimously approved an agreement Tuesday to expand the city’s sewer system, bringing relief to people with failing or failed septics one step closer to a solution.
The $7.2 million agreement with the Allen County Regional Water and Sewer District will install nine miles of sewers north of Union Chapel Road between Interstate 69 and Coldwater Road, connecting 356 homes. The city of Fort Wayne will pay $1,935,580 toward the cost, which also includes an upgraded interceptor sewer that was needed in the area.
Matt Wirtz, deputy director of engineering for Fort Wayne City Utilities, said the project will not only solve septic problems for many neighborhoods and give City Utilities hundreds more customers, but will also enable future growth in the area, which could mean thousands more customers eventually.
Councilman Mitch Harper, R-4th, pointed out it will allow another kind of growth, as well – residents hooking up to the system agree not to fight any future city annexation efforts, meaning the city limits could expand several miles north.
Ric Zehr, president of the regional sewer district, said some neighborhoods have been asking for sewers for a decade.
Because of the septic issues in the area, the district was able to get a $1.9 million grant from the state for the project and the rest will be financed with a zero-interest 20-year loan. The project is expected to get final approval by the council next week and construction could begin after Jan. 1.
Council members also approved a $7.5 million contract with Atos IT Solutions and Services for three years’ worth of computer services. The deal is a joint contract with Allen County, which pays the same amount.
The agreement is an extension of the current four-year contract, but Chief Information Officer Jim Haley said the flat rate the city will pay over the three years, plus the savings built into the contract will create savings beyond what the city could have found had it gone out for bid.
Council President Tom Smith, R-1st, announced that city administration officials expect to present their proposal for spending money from the Legacy Fund at next week’s meeting. The Legacy Fund is millions of dollars from the lease and sale of the city’s electric utility.