JSDC to pay half of pipe repair costThe Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. Board voted unanimously Monday to pick up half of the repair cost for the wastewater pipe from Cavendish Farms to the Jamestown Wastewater Treatment Plant.
By: Toni Pirkl, The Jamestown Sun
The Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. Board voted unanimously Monday to pick up half of the repair cost for the wastewater pipe from Cavendish Farms to the Jamestown Wastewater Treatment Plant.
JSDC CEO Connie Ova said initially the JSDC Executive Committee turned down the request to reimburse the $227,141 in repairs the city did to the pipeline a year ago. Then City Administrator Jeff Fuchs explained the history and ongoing problems the city has experienced due to the type of wastewater going through the pipe.
“There was a lack of understanding and we didn’t see the entire picture,” Ova said. “The wastewater is coming from the Ag Food Processing Park and JSDC owns property in the park so if a tenant is found the wastewater pipe needs to be in good shape.”
The JSDC owns 55 acres of the 200-acre ag park. Initially the executive committee recommended a 27.4 percent contribution to coincide with its acreage but later changed it to 50 percent.
“We have a responsibility for repairs when things like that take place,” Ova said.
The city’s request, which was for 100 percent of the repair costs, said the joints and elbows on the sanitary sewer force main from the park to the treatment plant have prematurely corroded. The type of wastewater and dirt going through the pipe has been an ongoing problem since the potato plant began operations in 1996.
“The cost of maintenance is currently outpacing what we’re getting in revenue,” Fuchs said.
Cavendish has taken some measures to treat the wastewater, but it hasn’t been sufficient. Fuchs said when AVIKO USA built the plant, wastewater and treatment requirements for the city were based on information from industry consultants, not the processor. In other words, no one knew what food processing wastewater would do. Along with dirt and corrosive wastewater, there’s been a problem with grease from the plant in the pipe.
“When we brought AVIKO into Jamestown, we didn’t know the maintenance costs of this type of processing,” said JSDC President Jim Boyd.
Mark Klose, county commissioner and JSDC Board member, asked if Cavendish was contributing anything toward the reimbursement.
“So far Cavendish hasn’t participated,” Fuchs said.
Ova said she recommends negotiating new rates with Cavendish to help cover the “extraordinary maintenance costs.” She added that JSDC’s support in covering part of the costs is because the infrastructure problems affect economic development of the park. Fuchs also told the executive committee additional repairs to the pipe are required with a cost of about $50,000. Those repairs will occur during Cavendish’s scheduled downtime later this month.
Years ago, the JSDC took AVIKO’s side in negotiations with the city on increased maintenance costs, leaving the city with the problem of how to pay them, Ova said in a memo to the JSDC Board. All of those board members are gone now.
“And the city has been saddled with this issue since,” she said.
The request for reimbursement came from the City Council and will go back to it and the County Commission for approval. The reimbursement of $113,571 will come out of the city’s 1 percent sales tax exclusively. No county funds will be included.
Three JSDC Board members were renominated for three-year terms starting in January. Eric Tuchscher was nominated for his first three-year term, replacing Kim Lunde, who declined another term. Tuchscher, Jim Boyd, Denny Ellefson and Alex Schweitzer were automatically appointed to fill the four upcoming vacancies on the board as no other nominations were presented.
Van Halfacre, vice president and Goodrich Jamestown general manager, resigned his position on the JSDC Board effectively immediately. Goodrich has transferred him to Alabama.
“I’m going back to the facility I left to come here,” Halfacre said of the move.
Halfacre has one year left on his three-year term and Boyd said the board will need to appoint a replacement for that year.
Sun reporter Toni Pirkl can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by e-mail at email@example.com