New England finds new revenue stream

The city of New England has been in a business partnership for the past two years that has given the city another stream of revenue, at no extra cost to the tax payers.

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Posted June 20, 2014

By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.net

The city of New England has been in a business partnership for the past two years that has given the city another stream of revenue, at no extra cost to the tax payers.

A few years ago, according to City Auditor Jason Jung, a resident business owner approached him about accepting gray water from a company from Baker, Mont.

What is gray water? According to city manager Dave Smith, it can best be characterized as waste water. Smith said its similar to a septic tank on a farm, and how the solids settle to the bottom, the water left over would be considered gray water.

When this opportunity first came about for the city, they did their due diligence researching every aspect of how this would work. Research included consulting other towns that have employed this before and of course consulting the health department. To this point Smith has been following what the Health Department has instructed he follow.

“Dave Smith has worked hand in hand with the Department of Health since the beginning of this venture to ensure the City of New England was doing everything according to the rules,” Jung said.

The process took five months to complete, and the council voted to form the partnership with Tri State Services.

New England is a good fit for this situation, according to Jung, is because unlike other cities, New England has a lagoon system with “ample room to take gray water.”

The city saw this as a great option to generate some revenue, especially when revenue streams to smaller communities can be limited.

“The dumping of gray water has provided an excellent source of revenue for the City of New England,” Jung said. “The city of New England has been able to do many things with the gray water revenue.”

Some of the things the city has been able to accomplish with the money have included a new garbage truck, a new city pickup, a netter (a device that has cut down on the amount of household sewer backups this past year), and a commercial lawn mower. Other things purchased include the down payment of the purchase of the old fire hall, a transaction that helped the efforts of the new Emergency Services Center. The city also was able to pay for the completion on the over haul of the zoning ordinances and the water analysis that Moore Engineering completed. All of this, according to Jung, with out a cost to the residence.

“All of these purchases were paid in full with no financing needed and the main thing that needs to be known about these purchases is that not one cent of the money has come from taxpayer revenue,” Jung said.

Smith also said he has seen benefits to the current system New England has.

For one, it dilutes the current lagoon of biological oxygen demand (BODs). BODs, according to Smith, are like pollutant markers that he monitors. And if they get too high, Smith would limit or stop the dumping.

“If it’s too high… no more,” Smith said. “That’s what I’m careful of, not only the quantity, but the quality.”

It also cleans out part of the lift system, by pumping it into that sometimes, instead of directly into the lagoon, it flushes it out.

“They’re pretty much flushing, so it keeps it nice and clean,” Smith said. “It’s getting rid of a lot more solids from the town.”

At this point Smith has not been faced with any problems with this current partnership.

“Our lagoon system I think, as far as I’m concerned is the healthiest it’s been,” Smith said.

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