The Turlock City Council paid a portion of their Turlock Irrigation District (TID) bill for a surface water treatment plant that has been put on hold for the last two years.
Tuesday night, the Council unanimously voted to pay $2.7 million for the bill, about a $68,000 difference from the $2.84 million TID demanded.
“This is TID saying we don’t see any forward progress, so we’re going to go ahead and bill you, even though we haven’t delivered a finished project,” said City Manager Roy Wasden.
To date, phases one and two of the project have been completed, and the final phase consists of TID obtaining construction bids.
In 2005, it was determined that an additional water source would be in the best interest of the city, as groundwater levels had been dropping off for years prior.
The plant would be a huge source of drinking water, expecting to provide 15 million gallons of water per day for the City of Turlock.
Also in 2005, the City entered into an agreement with Keyes, Modesto, Ceres, and Hughson, agreeing to share the cost for the project.
Now, the City of Turlock is one of four parties paying for the bill since Keyes pulled out of the agreement as they felt they couldn’t pay the full expenses of the project.
The City is now responsible for approximately 36% of the bill, adding up to the total of 2.84 million.
In the latter part of 2009, “The TID said we’re not getting a whole lot of movement, and we’re gonna stop performing the work,” said Turlock Municipal Services Director Dan Madden. “As we all know during that time the economy pretty much took a nose dive.”
Much has changed over the last six years, including the time when TID would expect payment. Originally, the City was not to pay their bill until a finished project was produced.
Part of the original bill included a 4% interest rate, but there is some dispute and concern over paying the interest after the time TID’s work came to a halt in 2009.
Manager Wasden explained that funds are in place as the City prepared for and anticipated this bill.
“Is it appropriate for you to charge a 4% rate?” he questioned.
Wasden believes the City should only have to pay around 1% since the planning work stopped in late 2009.
The remainder of the bill will be negotiated between the City and TID, and the extended surface water project will hopefully see its completion in the near future.