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Rushford's $1.5 million water treatment plant moves forward

Fri, Jul 27th, 2007
Posted in Government

RUSHFORD - Bill Chang of BDM Consulting Engineers, using a PowerPoint presentation, reported to the Rushford City Council at the July 23 meeting, on the water treatment plant design and financing status. The water treatment plant will be attached to the existing well house #4, which was constructed in 2000; all of the equipment in the well house #4 will be used. The proximity to both wells 3 and 4 will keep the cost of the treatment plant down. Since the plant will be built in a residential neighborhood, the plant will be designed to look much like a home with an attached garage. The plant will be 40 ft. by 50 ft. for a square footage of 2,000 square feet.

The plant will consist of a retention tank and filter; chemicals will be added to the water in the tank. The precipitate will then be removed; the water will be chlorinated and fluoride will be added. The filter will be backwashed with the waste sent to the sewer system for disposal; only 19,000 gallons of water per week would be sent.

Chang informed the council the project was ranked "fairly high" on the PFA (Public Facilities Authority) funding list. "I have no doubt you'll get the funding," Chang assured the council. The PFA loan would be for $1.5 million with 2.5 percent interest for twenty years. He estimated the construction costs would be around $1,300,000, with engineering, legal, and fiscal expenses costing another $200,000 for a total cost of $1.5 million. The project will be funded based on actual costs rather than estimates.

Chang urged the council to have future water customers pay for some of the cost of the plant-not just current customers. In order to do this, Chang suggested raising new connection fees from $300 to $1,000. He also advised the council to continue to raise water rates by five percent each year. This would result in $15.10 base rate and $3.30 for each 1,000 gallons (usage rate) for 2008; the rates would be $15.90 base rate and $3.50 usage rate in 2009.

During construction, well #4 would have at the maximum three shutdowns, each for no longer than 48 hours. Since wells 2 and 3 would be unaffected, water customers would not be inconvenienced.

The council will have the chance to visit an operating plant in Winona. They authorized advertising for bids, set a public hearing for August 13, and approved applying for the PFA Loan. With bids to be opened on August 24, construction is scheduled to begin September 2007 with facility startup September 2008.


Library Chair Dennis Lockwald and Librarian Susan Hart also reviewed timelines with the council as they presented the Library Board's recommendation to move forward with the construction of a new library. Lockwald asked the council for a commitment about whether the city would join the library at a new location by the end of September. The library board had representatives of TCI, an architectural firm, tour the downtown area under consideration for the library, formerly the homes of Dreaming Horses, Woxland Plumbing, and the old jail. A 9,000 sq. ft. building could be built in the area; this would have no off-street parking. The building footprint could be reduced to around 7,000 feet to provide parking as well; a second story could be added to house city hall. The current 1,300 square foot library could then be used for a new nanotechnology library.

City Administrator Windy Block reported he was "looking into a DEED grant" which would pay for fifty percent of the cost of acquisition and demolition. The old jail might be taken down brick by brick and rebuilt in another location. This was considered to be less expensive than moving the small building; a professional twin cities mover quoted a move price at $58,000. The building is in need of repair, which could be done during the reconstruction.

Lockwald assured the council the library board was committed to raise the funds privately; the city would not be asked to fund the project. Crescendo, a fund-raising corporation, will be at the October 1 library board meeting. The city council directed staff to research the situation further; they will discuss the project at their September meetings.

Other business

In other business the council:

• received a letter from the FAA announcing the approval of $104,500 in federal funds for the airport to be used for signs, seal coating the runway, taxiway, and aprons as well as updating the Airport Layout Plan.

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