The Sarpy County and Cities Wastewater Agency on Wednesday signed off on a plan that will help fund the sanitary sewer system in southern Sarpy County.
The Agency board unanimously approved an interlocal agreement that calls for putting Omaha Public Power District PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) funds toward the project.
“By using PILOT funds, we’re able to close any initial projected revenue shortfalls associated with the cost of building the sewer. It’s an innovative approach to paying for the system, and it’s taken months of collaboration to build this agreement,” Agency Board Chair Don Kelly said. “We were all committed to find a revenue source that didn’t come from the taxpayers, and this agreement gives us that funding. I’d especially like to thank Andrew Rainbolt, Executive Director of the Sarpy County Economic Development Corporation, for suggesting the idea of PILOT funds. Without him, I don’t know that we would have been able to move forward with the sewer project.”
The agreement represents a significant step forward for the Unified Southern Sarpy Wastewater System, which aims to encourage development south of the ridgeline.
The agreement still needs approval by the Sarpy County Board and the Bellevue, Gretna, La Vista, Papillion and Springfield City Councils. Those votes are expected to take place during their respective meetings on Oct. 15.
Under the agreement, the county and cities will contribute to the project a portion of their OPPD PILOT funds generated from new growth.
OPPD pays the PILOT funds to public entities, including counties and cities, in place of property taxes. PILOT funds are 5% of the gross retail sales on electricity collected within a city’s boundaries.
The amount the county and each city will pay will be based on their respective growth areas. The Agency board approved the Growth Management Plan in June.
In addition to PILOT funds, the project will be paid for with user and connection fees from development in southern Sarpy County.
No property tax dollars will be used, according to a current base case financial scenario.
Building the sewer system is projected to cost $220 million. It will be built in phases over the next 20 to 50 years, starting with building a wastewater treatment plant south of Springfield.
The project is expected to generate millions of dollars of property tax and sales tax revenue for the Sate of Nebraska, Sarpy County, Sarpy County cities and local school districts.
Also on Wednesday, the Agency board:
- Approved a resolution authorizing a professional audit services agreement with BerganKDV.
- Discussed public-private partnerships and traditional delivery models.