Monette to proceed with financing options for new sewer plant

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Wayne Menley, of Miller Newell Engineers, spoke again to the Monette City Council about possible solutions for the city's waste treatment plant issues.

Earlier this fall ADEQ found the city out of compliance with regulations regarding Total Suspended Solids or TSS limits. The city then began looking for possible solutions including redirecting the point of discharge hoping for increased limits. Menley said the city finally got a response from ADEQ that raised just slightly the TSS permit limits but lowered other limits and issued a non detect order for chlorine, which will be monitored. Menley explained to aldermen that even with the changes the city would still be out of compliance, which leaves no real options but to build a new sewer treatment plant.

"Putting in a pump station and moving to the discharge point will not help," Menely said.

Menley then presented the council with USDA rural development grant/loan financing information. He said the USDA program was the best financing option for the city. The proposed SBR type sewer treatment plant would cost $2.368 million with the city qualifying for 45 percent of that in grant funds. The rest of the funds would come from a loan.

As part of the program the city would have to collect $16,388 to pay for the plant, which would require a rate increase, but the city already has two rate increases scheduled for the next two years that may cover that cost. To get the USDA grant/loan the city would need all paper work in by March, which Menley felt could easily be done.

"We are going to have to do this and I don't see where we can put it off," Tom Carroll, alderman, said.

All other Monette aldermen echoed Carroll's opinion saying the city is left with no other options and as a council needed to do what was best for Monette not only now but for the future.

After some discussion the council approved unanimously to proceed with the process of financing a new sewer plant.

In other business the council tabled a resolution to adopt portions of Highway 18 and 139 into the city street system until more details and clarifications can be made to the proposal from the Highway Department.

Mayor Chub Qualls said there were things from the 2013 legislative audit that needed to be corrected concerning the 2013 city budget. The first, which the council approved unanimously, was a motion to pass for 2013 funding for accounts left unfunded. The second motion was to allow the city recorder/treasure to be paid for unused vacation in 2013. The vacation time had already been paid but the auditors wanted an official motion for it. The third was an adoption of a retro active policy concerning buying back employee vacation time. Many council members felt that buying back vacation time was not necessary saying it is a use it or lose it policy, while others could see the benefits. After a lot of discussion the council agreed unanimously to adopt a policy to allow the city to buy back 2013-2014 vacation time with the city council agreeing to amend that policy in 2015.

After going into executive session to discuss an employee, the council reconvened in open session where it was announced no action had been taken. The council then tabled the 2015 budget discuss until January and the planning commission ordinance and resolution was tabled as well.

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