WEST PULASKI PUBLIC WATER AUTHORITY
We would like to provide an update on recent progress in securing financing for the long-planned water project to serve western Pulaski County.
At the request of WPPWA, Central Arkansas Water (CAW) has revised its Master Plan for extension of water into west Pulaski County to allow smaller diameter pipes and alternate pipe materials to help lower the project cost. CAW has also offered to contribute to the cost of the project in the amount of $1.8 million and also to (a) provide loan financing for the balance of project cost through the issuance of public utility revenue bonds and (b) provide the administrative services required to implement and manage the project. Currently, CAW is working to develop an agreement to enter into with WPPWA to reflect these arrangements.
The WPPWA has executed engineering contracts with Dean Engineering Company, LLC and Halff & Marlar Engineering to produce construction plans and specifications for soliciting competitive public bids for the construction work. Concurrent with the construction plan and specification development, the engineering firms will also be preparing easement documents for locations where landowner agreements are needed to install water lines.
Firm schedules for the construction work have not been established but initial work is planned to begin at the intersection of Stewart Road and Burlingame and proceed to Ferndale center and then along Kanis Road west of Ferndale to the county line. Initial work is also expected to begin on the north end of Ferndale Cutoff Road at the Little Maumelle River bridge crossing and run south along the Cutoff Road to Studer Road and into Studer Valley. Additional branch lines will be installed as these main lines are made operational. The project involves approximately 58 miles of water piping and may require 3 to 4 years to fully complete depending on seasonal weather conditions and the number of construction contracts let.
The WPPWA currently has 508 customers signed up for service. According to our research of property ownership, there are an estimated 363 unsubscribed residential addresses for a total residential customer potential of 871 homes. This number does not include non-residential customers such as the 4-H Center, businesses, or the Presbyterian Church Camp.
The majority of the unsubscribed residential addresses are on the northern end of Garrison Road, along Kanis Road west of Ferndale, and in the quadrant of Pulaski County extending from Kanis Road northeasterly to Garrison Road.
The majority of the subscribed customers reside in the areas east of Ferndale along Burlingame and Kanis Roads as well in the Ferndale Road corridor north of Ferndale including the Studer Road, Dixie-Colvert Road, and Ridgefield neighborhoods.
When CAW has finalized the necessary cooperative agreement with the Authority, a public meeting will be scheduled at the Arkansas 4-H Center. CAW engineering and management personnel will participate in this informational meeting. It is hoped that the public meeting will not only serve to further inform the customer base but will also serve to stimulate additional service signups.
When a date and time for this meeting has been set, a notice of the meeting will be posted on the West Pulaski Public Water Authority facebook page. Subscribers are urged to check the WPPWA facebook page from time to time to follow progress on additional signups, possible hookup cost assistance for low-income subscribers, and information on project phasing and construction progress.
The project currently has an approximate 60% subscription rate but the ultimate goal is for 90% or better in order to reduce the monthly customer cost to as low a cost as possible. This would mean gaining another 276 subscriptions from among the currently remaining 363 potential customers. A separate mail out is planned to likewise inform the unsubscribed homeowners of recent progress on implementation and encourage new water service signups.
It is extremely important that customers sign up for water service in order to keep the water rates at a minimum and help make the system affordable. Customers who have signed up will have the cost of installing water service lines from the mains included as part of the construction cost in the contractor’s bid. Customers who desire water, but have not signed up before the construction plans are completed will have to bear the cost of individual service lines being installed from the main to their property. Signing up early can alleviate significant individual expense for service line installation from the main to the property line.
It is expected that the water project will encourage rural residential development in the service area. Growth in the service population will allow the Authority to lower the monthly cost for all its customers over time. Equalization of the cost of water service at the lowest possible level is a primary goal of the Authority.
Sincere thanks are again offered for your patience and confidence in the eventual realization of public water service through the implementation of this large, complex water supply project.
WEST PULASKI PUBLIC WATER AUTHORITY