Aberdeen increases 2023 budget for Water Reclamation Plant expansion

The Aberdeen City Council approved a $84.7 million budget for 2023 on Monday.
Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 4:09 PM CDT
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The Aberdeen City Council approved a $84.7 million budget for 2023 on Monday.

That budget is up by $6.8 million from 2022, mainly to accommodate for a planned expansion at the Aberdeen Water Reclamation Plant. In 2023, $7 million of the Enterprise Fund will be used toward engineering and planning of the expansion.

”The Enterprise Funds are almost all charges and fees. So, when you pay your water bill, when you pay your sewer bill, that’s where those funds come from,” said Aberdeen City Manager Joe Gaa.

That means that those charges and fees will increase slightly for Aberdeen residents in order to pay for the $57 million expansion.

“We’ll also have to bond a significant amount of money and then charge the rates to make up for that bond. That’s the requirement of those bonds. So, they will see fee increases down the road from this,” said Gaa.

The project, however, has had some help from the federal government. The city allocated $5 million in ARPA funds to the expansion, which the state matched with another $5 million. A grant of $13 million was also allocated toward the project.

”$23 million of federal grant funds are going into that project, and that’s unheard of. In the past, if it was $57 million, we had to borrow $57 million. The rate increase will be literally cut in half because of the grant funds that went into that,” said Gaa.

The Aberdeen Water Reclamation Plant hasn’t been expanded since it was built in the late 1980s. Peggi Badten, the superintendent of the plant, says it has reached its capacity now that two major industries have moved into town.

”Aberdeen was in a really good position several years ago when we had two very large industries move to town, which is unheard of for a town this size. We had all of this demand for our capacity, and we essentially gave it to the industries that moved to town, so now, we need to upsize the plant,” said Badten.

The expansion will increase the amount of water the plant can treat each day to 12 million gallons, which will allow for more economic development in Aberdeen.

“Right now, we’re kind of at our design peak, which is 4.5 million gallons. In order for an economic development standpoint to bring in bigger industries, we’re going to have to upsize the plant,” said Badten.

Badten says that ARPA funds must be spent in the next four years, so she hopes to have the expansion completed by the end of 2026.