Council hears update on sewer project

LIME SPRINGS - Brian Malm, Engineer from Bolton & Menk, was on hand to update the Lime Springs City Council on the big project looming over members’ heads . . .  the wastewater treatment project.
“Several meetings ago, we went over the alternatives. We heard back from the DNR on the alternatives on June 29, but we haven’t heard if Lime Springs could be labelled a disadvantaged community again.
“Right now, dates to remember are February 2020, when a self-assessment is due and April 2020, when a facility plan is due.” Those dates could change if the town is called disadvantaged.
Malm said there are two funding paths.
1. SRF (State Revolving Fund) is a low interest loan of about 2%. That could be tied in with a CDBG (Community Development Block Grant), which is limited to $300,000 per project.
2. USDA Rural Development is a low interest loan, although not as low as the SRF but has up to a 40-year pay back. CDBGs are also eligible.
Mayor Kevin Bill told council, “We’ve been kicking this down the road. By doing that, it probably cost us about $2 million in construction inflation. Now it is at $8-9 million. If we kick it again, we’ll have an extra $300,000 for studies and more.”
Malm agreed. “The requirements are not going away. It’s not an operational issue.” It is rules set up by the DNR.
Brian Johnson said, “The longer we procrastinate, the more it’s going to cost.”
Malm gave more information. “For compliance, it says April 2023 is when the project should be completed, without an additional disadvantaged community delay. It’s a reasonable schedule for starting now. Fast-tracking may get it done a year or year-and-a-half earlier. 
“It’s not going away. And it’s probably not going to get cheaper.”
He added, “You have clay pipes and undersized cast-iron mains. One of the things we can look at for the project is collection and replacing water mains. You can do that in different phases and get multiple CDBGs for that.When you replace the sewer, you can replace the streets. When you replace the water, you can also replace the streets.”
• The next item discussed were the roads in town that need attention: North Miller from East Main St. for several blocks and West Jackson St. Bill said, “Everyone knows we need to do something. How are we going to pay for this work? Do we assess property owners? But what we decide will carry forward to other roads in the future.”
Council discussed having property owners pay 25% of the cost of paving. Utility work is paid by the City.
Many of the other streets in town could be fixed during the sewer project.
Council will certainly be discussing how to proceed during the next council meetings.

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

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214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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