Joint Meeting – Helmsburg and Brown County Regional Sewer District (RSDs). Jan 28, 2022, 6:30 p.m.
The two boards are in the process of developing a mutual agreement as to roles and responsibilities.
The role of the Brown County RSD (BCRSD) in this project is to collect wastewater. The role of the Helmsburg RSD is to process the wastewater at the Hellmsburg sewer plant. Consequently, both boards are contracting for engineering support, rate studies, and legal services. There are other examples of similar arrangements in other communities. No information regarding the effectiveness and efficiency of such an arrangement or analysis that this is the best arrangement for Brown County. Elected officials chose to stay uninvolved in the decision and supported it with funding from the American Rescue Plan (ARP).
The area to be served by the joint project ranges from Lake Lemon to Bean Blossom to Woodland Lake. Rate studies will identify the initial monthly charges and rates will increase over time due to maintenance costs. Nashville has recently increased its sewer rates by 25%. Water rates also continue to increase.
The Brown County RSD (BCRSD) began as the Bean Blossom RSD with the intent to develop a new plant in Bean Blossom. They failed in this mission when landowners refused to sell land for a new plant. The state also refused to allow parkland to be used for a sewer plant. The new role for the BCRSD in this project is to collect and transport the wastewater from customers to the Helmsburg Plant. The Lake Lemon and Helmsburg customers have a valid need and support from the customer base.
In the Bean Blossom area, motivation includes development. The need has been justified based on speculation as to the age of septic systems that may indicate inadequate systems, lack of records (not required in many cases), and some systems that may be contributing to E. coli.
RSDs can mandate sewer hookups that include hook-up fees (undetermined at this time) and monthly rates. RSDs can also charge customers during construction. RSD board members are appointed officials. The county has a one-party monopoly on political power and development has been identified by party officials as a priority.