Thursday, October 23, 2014
   
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Million-dollar lagoon project could be tough sell for village

Members of the Brady board of trustees know it’s going to be difficult to convince residents that a significant rate hike is necessary to cover mandated repairs to the sewage lagoon.

They also understand the village has been left with little choice.

At their regular monthly meeting on Nov. 9, trustees voted to accept results of a lengthy study by Miller & Associates of Kearney and submit the report for possible grant funding.

It’s the next step in taking care of the sewage lagoon, which is seeping more than 100 times what the government deems acceptable.

The study by Miller & Associates comes after testing in 2007 showed excessive seepage.

Nothing was done to fix the problem then and, when Department of Environmental Quality officials revisited the lagoon in 2009, a mandate was issued.

Now the total bill to overhaul the lagoon could easily surpass $1 million.

While there isn’t much option in making costly repairs, engineer Reed Miller told trustees all of the options in the study won’t have to be done.

“We put everything in there so you can choose what parts to add and subtract. You will only spend what you want to spend,” Miller said. “The hard part about it, though, is there is kind of a gun at your back right now. You’re going to have to do something.”

Trustees chose to pursue funding for a full-retention lagoon meaning little or no seepage, which would be below the allowed eighth-inch per day.

That likely means an increase in acreage.

“The reason your one lagoon cell is handling all your waste water now is because it goes ‘woosh’ into the ground,” Miller said.

Putting an impermeable liner in the lagoon will force it to retain more waste water, requiring more space.

Miller said construction is probably two years down the road as the village waits for grant approval.

He said Community Development Block Grants or U.S. Department of Agriculture low-interest loans are likely to cover a large chunk of the cost but the village will have to pay out some matching funds.

That’s why he suggested an increase in the current water and sewer portion of village residents’ bills, now at $31 for both.

“Communities go along trying to keep fees down and trying to get by,” Miller said. “And then something major happens and you have to make a big jump.”

Trustees agreed residents won’t like a fee hike but they would like it less if they couldn’t flush their toilets.

The village will host a special public hearing when funding options are available.

In other business, trustees:

have hired Troy Chestnutt as the utilities and maintenance superintendent.

awarded the lease for the six acres of village land previously used as a landfill to Randy Britt for $325 per year.

granted the school district’s request to paint parking spaces on Popleton Street in front of the school and place visitor parking signs on the north side of the street.

Trustees previously voted to implement two-hour parking on that block but school superintendent Bill Porter asked that employees be allowed to continue parking on the south side of the street.

accepted an inventory of the Community Center’s kitchen from Arlene Clark, who heads the village funeral committee. Hundreds of items are missing since the last inventory—22 salt and pepper shaker sets, 100 forks, 120 spoons to name just a few.

The board discussed options to lock the kitchen, lock the cupboards or allow the funeral committee to move its items to a separate locked location.

adopted the annual roads report from village highway superintendent Carla O’Dell. The village can expect to receive $36,917 in highway allocation funds for the year.

voted to renew the simple IRA for village employees with a 3% matching contribution.

approved a policy to purchase fuel from businesses which allow for a 30-day billing cycle to match the village claims process.