Dollars and Cents (Sense)

Over the past several months, the subject of a sewer system has become a heated subject of discussion in the Hudson Lake area. In fact, when I recently when to vote in the November election, there was a gentleman outside Monroe’s Crossing, our polling place, shouting at me while I walked in, “If you’re against the sewers, vote for Euler!” First, I am pretty sure that is against election rules and second, I am also pretty sure that is not one of the duties of our Trustee.

While there are many that claim that Joyce Forbes, our previous Trustee, was the one pushing the sewer movement because of her elected position, I can assure you that is not the case. She, and many more of us, are truly concerned about the impending health issues that are facing residents around the lake as the septic systems fail and cannot be replaced.

Many of the homes that were built in our area were cottages, on lots that are no longer of legal size to bear a septic system. This leaves the homeowner in a quandary. They can’t sell their property because it won’t pass the new laws imposed by the Health Department. Home values will decrease, the area will become unsafe and the quality of our drinking water will be affected as well as the water quality of the lake.

There are many out there who say it is just too expensive to put in a sewer system. I contend that it is more costly not to address this issue now. I am a numbers-type person who likes to see the dollars and cents laid out in front of me. So let me propose this to you, and I hope you will take the time to digest it before you make any decisions. Friends of ours had to put in a new septic system about four years ago which cost a little over $17,000. Luckily they had a sufficient amount of property that they were able to install a mound system. I was recently told by a local septic company that a mound system would start at $20,000. This did not include anything that leads up to that price which would include the inspection and then the engineer to come out and do the soil test.

The majority of us could not afford that kind of improvement to our property without taking out a home improvement loan. Currently that type of loan ($20,000) at 4.25% payable over 15 years would result in a payment of $150.46 per month. So over the course of that 15 years, you would pay $7082.02 in interest or a total cost of $27,082.02. Additionally to maintain that new septic system you would have to have it pumped, probably 7 times as it is recommended it be pumped every two years. And at $175.00 to pump it 7 times over that 15-year period, you would have incurred an additional cost of $1,225.00. Total cost of your new septic is now $28,307.02.

I have not been able to get any local contractors to give me a ballpark of what it would cost for the homeowner to run a line from their house to a new sewer line as it all depends on the type of system and how far the run is to be to the street. So I will offer you a range of $2,000 - $5,000 as my best guesstimate. And since Rolling Prairie is currently paying $72/month per household for their sewer charges, I will use $80/month. My math tells me that $80 per month for one year equals $960 per year and over the course of 15 years, that total would be $14,400. Then factor in the cost of the plumber to hook you up of $2-5K, my brain says that the total would be somewhere in the area of $16,400 to $19,400 over that 15-year period of time. To me, that is a pretty big savings and I would not have to worry about my water being contaminated, I could add on to my house if I wanted and I could sell my house without any headaches.

People always balk at change, but it is time we addressed this issue, not 10 years down the road. I don’t think anyone complained when we finally got our roads paved.

Kathy Aurenz New Carlisle, IN

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