Council Discusses Sources Of Funding For Wastewater Improvements

sheldon wastewater treatment facilitiesSheldon, Iowa — New federal regulations, the age of the Sheldon Wastewater Treatment Plant, and the growth of Sheldon are all combining to require a new building and other improvements for that facility.

At Wednesday’s city council meeting, Public Works Director Todd Uhl explained that the treatment plant is required to comply with the new DNR standards by the year 2020. If that requirement is not met by the date set by the DNR the City could be fined ten thousand dollars, plus five thousand dollars a day that it operates without meeting those standards. City Manager Sean Hutchison explained that if other funding is not used, the sewer bill for residents and businesses would have to be increased by 97 percent. One of the suggestions brought to the council was to consider the use of tax increment financing funds to pay for fifty percent of the cost. This still would result in a sewer rate increase of 49 percent.

During the discussion council member Zach Sawyer expressed concern that using TIF funds for this purpose could result in a shortage of funds for development in the city. After further discussion, a motion was passed to use TIF funds for “up to” fifty percent of the project. Sawyer voted no on this motion.

The council then set April 5th as the date for a hearing on the issuance of $850,000 in general obligation capital loan notes. This money will be used for the engineering cost on the treatment plant, and the re-construction of 16th Street.

The council also heard from Ryan Norman representing the DGR firm explaining their proposed agreement to perform engineering services for the treatment facility at a cost of a little over one million dollars, which was approved by the council. DGR’s projection is to have the final design completed by sometime in October. The design will be submitted to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for their approval. This may take several months, but hopefully the plan would be ready for bidding by April of 2018, with construction completed by January of 2020.

In other business, the council gave their final approval to the Crossroads Pavilion Board ordinance and addressed a complaint about the condition of a tree in the right of way at 505 10th Street. The city will arrange for an inspector to determine if the tree is diseased and this report will be brought back to the council.

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