Indeed, the town ensures that no customer class or type receives subsidies. While state statutes limit the fees municipalities can impose on developers, it's worth noting that we do not apply higher rates to out-of-town customers.
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The existing facility is inadequate for meeting future treatment demands, and its limited size prevents substantial improvements or expansions. Utilizing the current facility wherever feasible is a cost-effective strategy to mitigate the expenses associated with constructing new facilities.
Rate adjustments are inevitable, irrespective of this project. Local and national research underscores the inescapable trend of escalating wastewater treatment costs. Neighboring communities, including Raleigh and Johnston County, are also implementing rate increases in response to the growing demand for improved wastewater services.
Rates undergo rigorous evaluation and adjustment during the council's comprehensive budgeting process. Every endeavor is being made to minimize the necessity of rate hikes and, ideally, to implement them gradually, thus mitigating their immediate impact.
The town presently maintains agreements with Johnston County and Raleigh for wastewater treatment, yet these communities are grappling with their own treatment and capacity constraints, reflected in their rate increases. While the town remains committed to upholding these agreements and nurturing positive relationships, the imperative for self-reliance in wastewater treatment for our future remains.
Certainly, the forthcoming plant will incorporate state-of-the-art processes and equipment, surpassing the capabilities of the existing facility. It is meticulously designed to meet all present and foreseeable state and federal environmental regulations. The town has diligently navigated an exceedingly rigorous permitting process to ensure compliance and environmental responsibility.
The comprehensive timeline for this endeavor spans approximately four years. Commencing in July 2020 with a series of public engagement workshops, the project reached a significant milestone in late June 2021 when the Town Council awarded the design-build contract to Gannett-Fleming and the site clearing and access contract to Providence Construction.
The project site is nestled within a wooded area near the picturesque Neuse River. To facilitate construction traffic, an access road will be constructed, originating from Covered Bridge Road. Extensive traffic studies and the implementation of designated turn lanes have been incorporated to mitigate the potential disruptions caused by construction-related traffic. Additionally, it's important to note that the project will have implications for a section of the Clayton River Walk on the Neuse Greenway, specifically in the vicinity of the existing Neuse 2 Pump Station.