Plans to extend a water main by almost a mile-and-a half, from the Willow Lake subdivision to the Lake Villa Manufactured Home Community, are moving forward.
Last week, the Oxford Township Board voted 6-0 to award the project to the Auburn Hills-based Superior Excavating for the bid amount of $1.518 million.
Superior Excavating submitted the lowest of the four bids received. The highest bid was $1.948 million from DVM Utilities based in Sterling Heights. The two bids in between were $1.58 million submitted by C&P Construction and $1.79 million from F.D.M. Contracting.
In a Feb. 23 memo recommending Superior Excavating, township engineer Jim Sharpe, president of Sharpe Engineering, stated that although the company has not worked directly for the township, it has done infrastructure installation for two private residential developments in Oxford and “those jobs went smoothly.”
“Their qualifications and references indicate that they have the equipment, manpower and similar related experience to complete the project as designed,” Sharpe wrote.
The project involves adding 7,505 feet of new water main, the majority of which (4,995 feet) would be 16 inches in diameter.
The new pipe would begin at the Willow Lake subdivision and run eastward along the north side of Lakeville Rd. (see map left). It would then cross the road just west of Lakeville Elementary School and head south through school property with a portion of it traveling along Wildcat Drive. The water main would then wind its way around Oxford Middle School and head east to Lake Villa.
Extending the main will connect Lake Villa to the township water system and end the manufactured home park’s dependence on the four wells that currently supply all of its water.
This small well system is old and has been experiencing problems over the years. Although they’re currently working, officials no longer consider Lake Villa’s wells to be reliable and fear a potential water crisis in the park if they fail.
“This is a must,” said township Supervisor Bill Dunn at a Feb. 22 special meeting. “This is a project that we have to follow through on.”
The township is responsible for Lake Villa because it has owned these wells since September 2006 when a previous park owner donated them to the municipality.
It’s estimated the entire water main extension, which includes two emergency water connections between the township and village systems, will cost a total of $1.55 million.
Officials voted to allocate all of the money for the project from the water fund, instead of borrowing $1 million from the sewer fund for a 10-year period as originally planned.
Once hooked up to township water system and benefiting from it, Lake Villa will be responsible for paying the water bond debt reduction service charge.
All township water customers are currently charged $52.50 per quarter (or $210 annually) per Residential Equivalent Unit (REU) to help pay off the $10.7 million in bonds the township issued through Oakland County in 2005.
Proceeds from those bonds funded improvements to the municipal water system, including the construction of a 1 million-gallon elevated storage tank and two treatment plants that remove naturally-occurring arsenic and iron from the groundwater.
Because manufactured homes count at 0.85 REU – as opposed to a stick-built single family home, which is assigned a value of 1 REU – Lake Villa would be charged $44.63 per quarter for each of the 851 home sites in the park, plus $52.50 per quarter for the park’s clubhouse, which counts as 1 REU, in order to help pay off the bond debt.
In March 2007, the township board voted 4-3 to not charge Lake Villa for debt service until the park is connected to the municipal system.
A June 26, 2015 opinion from township attorney Gary Rentrop stated the municipality can charge Lake Villa for debt service based on the total number of home sites within the park, “regardless of whether they are occupied.”