Water project could be on tap in Cerro Gordo

With the town’s long-term drainage project finally underway, the Cerro Gordo Village Board set its sights on water systems improvement as the town’s next large scale project at its Jan. 21 board meeting.

The older section of the village’s water main system, which covers approximately half of the town has been a steady nuisance, with over 50 breaks in the last 30 years alone.

“The water main in that area was installed in the early 1930’s when the best material they had was cast iron,” explained Mayor Brad Williams.

Adding to the inconvenience of continually repairing the system are the precautions the town must take for public health safety after each break, including a two day boil order followed by an additional two days of sampling to ensure there is no contamination. Although fixing the water main would be costly up front, with each incident costing the town an average of $1,000, it’s an expenditure that would save the village money in the long-term.

Undertaking a project of this scale will undoubtedly require governmental funding; however the town has yet to receive an engineering grant to start the design of the project. Village engineer Tom Overmeyer consulted with board members, suggesting that the town pay for the engineering upfront, allowing the board to focus on the bigger ticket Public Facilities Grant, which awards up to $450,000 with a 25 percent matching requirement.

Although footing the bill for preliminary engineering reports and application fees will cost around $5,000, it’s a worthwhile investment explained Overmeyer noting “Project readiness affects the likelihood of receiving the grant”.

In addition, Overmeyer informed board members of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s revolving loan program, which offers low interest (2% APR) loans to fund water projects in Illinois. A low interest loan extended over 20 years would allow the village to cover the cost of matching the Public Facilities grant without significantly affecting residents. “Funding would impact customers approximately $1.26 per water bill” said Overmeyer. Although the board will not vote on its budget for the next fiscal year until May, Mayor Williams suggested “It’s something to think about.”

However actual construction on the project wouldn’t start until 2015 at the earliest explained Overmeyer, saying “It takes time to get through the funding mechanism.”

In other news, the board approved a partial payment in the amount of $124,955.55 for the completed portion of the town’s drainage project which is roughly halfway finished. Although the original completion date was set for Jan. 15, weather conditions have caused the project to take longer than expected.

At the request of the contractor, the board voted to allow an extension, setting the new completion date for
Feb. 8.

The project, which includes over 14,000 ft. of pipe, will have a final ticket price of $356,419.

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