The city of Clintonville’s wastewater treatment facility may receiving a larger upgrade than originally planned.
At the Feb. 10 Clintonville City Council meeting, interim City Administrator Chuck Kell informed the council that USDA isn’t too interested in helping fund the planned improvements to the wastewater treatment facility. The planned improvements would cost $3-$4 million. The improvements would suffice for five years before more improvement would need to be made.
Kell said USDA isn’t interested because they consider the improvements to be “band-aid” improvements.
He said USDA also cited that he city of Clintonville has very low sewer rates, and there is a threshold it looks at when funding projects.
With a rate increase already approved, Kell said sewer rates will be about $26 per month.
“That was an issue with USDA,” Kell said.
USDA is willing to make an exception in Clintonville’s case because of the low income of the population in the city, Kell said.
For the currently proposed project, Kell said USDA is willing to fund only 10 percent of it, or $200,000-$300,000.
USDA did indicate to Kell that if the city wanted to pursue a project that would benefit the city over a longer term, a project in the $6-$8 million range, it would commit to a minimum of a $1 million grant.
“The more we can put together and do here to meet the needs of the community the higher that grant may go,” Kell said.
Upon hearing that, Kell said he asked city staff to assemble ideas about a bigger project.
He said a number of lift stations are in “very bad condition” and need work. He said there are also other treatment facility needs that should be looked at.
USDA said it would also apply the grant to the reconstruction of the sanitary sewer on Main Street in 2017, Kell said. The city didn’t have a cost for that project, but Kell was guessing it would be around $750,000.
Kell said he would like to put together a larger project and have the city look at it with a couple of different grant scenarios.
“I don’t think we want to go into this blindly because you don’t want to end up with sewer rates that your public can’t afford,” Kell said.
He said the city should consider a bigger project if the grants keep the sewer rates reasonable.
“You have a grant agency out there that I think really wants to work with the community and is really interested in helping move Clintonville forward in getting improvements. There are lots of deficiencies in your system,” Kell said.
Doing a larger project would delay the upgrading of the wastewater treatment plant by a year, Kell said.