Niles Twp. to reduce water connection cost for new businesses

Published 1:16 pm Tuesday, March 22, 2022

NILES TOWNSHIP — A new resolution passed by the Niles Township Board of Trustees aims to ease the financial burden on new businesses looking to set up shop on South 11th Street.

The board voted unanimously to pass a resolution to update capital cost charges for connecting to the water system Monday evening at Niles Charter Township Hall, adjusting capital cost charges from $6,720 to $1,250 to make the township’s South 11th Street Corridor more attractive and affordable for future businesses. 

“That’s a really good deal,” said Trustee Dan Pulaski. “That really is cutting any business who decides to come down that corridor a big break.”

According to Treasurer Jim Ringler, the township’s South 11th Street water system was put in place 16 years ago in an attempt to attract new commercial development to the township. The previous capital cost charge of $6,720 further hindered larger businesses with more water needs from considering the township’s portion of South 11th Street for commercial development.

“If you want to keep it at $6,720 over the next 16 years, you’ll have one or two more [businesses] at most,” Ringler said. “I’m not saying that you’ll have more than that anyway because Niles’ market is a different market from Grape Road [Mishawaka]. It’s just two different worlds and two different types of commercial markets but it’s just cost prohibitive for anybody to come in and hook up to the water on South 11th Street.”

The new resolution states that any new construction that connects to the township’s water system in the South 11th Street Special Assessment District will be required to pay – prior to the issuance of a water permit – a capital cost charge equal to the number of equivalent unit factors for the structure, less the number of EUF’s included in the original special assessment from the 11th Street Special Assessment and then multiplied by the then-current capital cost charge per EUF.

The township’s Department of Public Works uses EUFs for sizing water meters and determining certain fees and charges. EUFs are calculated using a formula that factors in what type of business will be connected to the water system.

“You have to have a rate that reflects the buy-in to the water tower and the wells,” Ringler said. That’s how we came up with the $1,250 rate.”

Conversely, if a current business connected to the township’s water system in the 11th Street SAD changes its use such that it has a higher number of EUFs, it will be required to pay a capital cost change “equal to the number of EUFs for the structure less the number of EUF’s included in the original special assessment from the 11th Street Special Assessment District on the respective parcel of property on which such structure is located, and then multiplied times the then current capital cost charge per EUF.”

With the resolution in place, the capital cost charge will be $1,250 for calendar year 2022, and shall increase for each calendar year thereafter at an inflation rate determined from time to time by the township board of trustees.

In other business, the board moved to approve the bid of $1,396 from Stanley Steemer Great Lakes Inc. to clean the carpets at Niles Township Hall.