Local News: Wastewater Tariff Increase Approved (7/26/22)

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Sikeston BMU chief executive Rick Landers discusses the need for sewer rate increases at Sikeston Town Council meeting on Monday. (David Jenkins/Standard Democrat)

SIKESTON — Residents of Sikeston will now pay more for their use of the sewers.

On Monday, Sikeston City Council approved an increase that will increase the residential customer’s average monthly sewer bill by $14.23 over a three-year period.

The increase is necessary because of BMU’s southern sewage treatment plant, which is effectively three plants in one. The first factory was built in 1954 and is mothballed. The second plant was built in 1968 and is worn out with many problems and is at the end of its life. The third factory, built in 1988, needs a major overhaul.

The problems with the plant have been known for years and BMU is working to find the necessary funds to solve the problems. The process began in 2018 when a consultant recommended five consecutive 5% rate increases. Due to the changing prices, the consultant then recommended increasing the tariffs for three years and reassessing, which BMU did in 2021.

What came was a Waters Engineering study with five phases needed for the southern sewage treatment plant.

Phase 1: Cleaning, repairing and replacing items needed to meet existing demands that must be done immediately. ($3,050,000)

Phase 2: Find and correct sources of storm water inflows found in the collection system which has already started and will continue over the next 10 years. ($200,000 per year)

Phase 3: Replace three lift stations and install two new force lines over the next five years ($3,000,000)

Phase 4: Construct new headworks and replace plant pumphouse as soon as possible ($9,400,000)

Phase 5: New Wastewater Treatment Plant after 2026 permit renewal process, no earlier than 2030 ($48,000,000)

Rick Landers, Managing Director of Sikeston BMU, said Phases 1 and 4 will be carried out immediately, then work will begin on Phases 2 and 3.

Landers said he applied for a grant to pay for the upgrades, but no money has been forthcoming yet.

The rate increase will put Sikeston’s rate at $34.08 per 5,000 gallon user in 2025. That would be just higher than Poplar Bluff ($29.50), Cape Girardeau ($31.13), and Jackson ( $31.41). However, these are 2022 rates and could increase more than Sikeston by 2025.

In another action on Monday, the Council:

• Authorized City staff to issue a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for Owner’s Representative (RO) services. The OR will oversee the planning, design and construction of the new Fire Station 2.

• Awarded a tender to Fronabarger Concreters, Inc. for $1,647,829.48 for the US 61 widening and signaling project. The tender was lower than the engineer’s estimate.

• Approval of a lease agreement for 130/134 Industrial Drive with Sam Thomas. It has a lease rate of $0 per year by 2066 in recognition of payments already made under the old agreements. In 2066, the parties will solicit appraisals from 2 mutually agreed appraisals to set the lease rate for that year, after which the rate will increase by 2% per annum until the end of the new 99 term. years, in 2121.

• Approval of an agricultural lease agreement with Doug Scott for agricultural land near the South Industrial Park. Prior to and immediately following the City’s acquisition of Industrial Park South, Doug Scott Farms held a lease to cultivate the approximately 265 acres of land. During negotiations to locate Carlisle Construction Materials on part of this land, the city exercised its right to terminate the agricultural lease because an unknown amount of land would be occupied by Carlisle construction and infrastructure in the industrial park. Although the farmer was allowed to farm in 2021, he had to remove the existing pivot and suffered crop damage from time to time due to construction activities.

For 2022, the City approached Doug Scott to ensure his interest in continuing to cultivate the remaining cropland for this season, recognizing that irrigation was no longer possible, that the construction in progress could again disrupt crops. and that agricultural land is divided into several separate plots. . The City’s interest in having Scott cultivate the land is that it will be kept in an orderly agricultural use rather than overgrown with wild cover and grasses that the City would have to continually mow.

The attached Farm Lease proposes an annual payment of $0 for 2022 only, and release of all liability for last year’s partial crop from both the Farmer and the City, in recognition of the less ideal in 2021 and 2022. Beyond 2022, the City will likely have to make a competitive offer for the agricultural lease once all construction is complete and the remaining cultivable area can be determined.

• Approval of the purchase of a Case 580SN backhoe with 4-year warranty for the Sikeston Street division at a cost of $113,668 from Luby Equipment Services. The cost is included in the approved budget using capital improvement funding.

• Authorized an extension of the current solid waste management contract with Sonny’s Solid Waste. The current contract expires on July 31 but can be renewed for a period of three years. The contract will be renewed at the current price for the first year, with the second and third years each including an indexation of 3%. Curbside collection will continue for participating residents at a cost of $8 per month, while recycling collection sites will be eliminated. There will be semi-annual cleanups, however, Sikeston will not have curbside pickup for these events as Sonny’s Solid Waste said they do not have the staff to pick up individual homes.

• Approved the purchase of network protection from CDWG for CrowdStrike to purchase an add-on one-year subscription to Falcon AnitVirus Complete, granting the City a 24/7 network monitoring team. CrowdStike engineers will monitor and research the city’s network environment for best practice solutions and any anomalies that may damage their resources. The FY23 budget contained $27,000 for this purchase. The price for the one-year subscription is $25,096.68.

• Approved Tyianna Davis’ request for the use of the conditional waiver for a home daycare to be located at 815 Apache.

• Authorized Director of Public Works Jay Lancaster to apply for Federal Transportation Alternatives Program assistance for a Safe Route to Schools Trail and an East Malone/Linn Street Trail, Phases Two and Three of the Railroad Rail-to-Trail project.

• Heard the first reading of an application to annex an 8,227-acre parcel of land along the west side of S. Illinois Avenue and south of Ables Road, known as Saddleridge South 2nd Addition. Council also heard the first reading of an application to rezone the land from agricultural to single-family residential, while also hearing an application that would subdivide the parcel of land. The requests will be voted on at an upcoming city council.

• Heard the first reading of a bill that would change the city code since many court fees assessed by the city code are no longer allowed. Sikeston City Court did not assess the costs, but the city code was never changed. The changes are as follows: defendants cannot be charged boarding fees for time spent in custody in the county jail; mileage and interpretation costs are no longer imposed on defendants as legal costs; costs cannot be assessed for the issuance of a warrant, recognizance or subpoena and the court clerk will remit the Victims of Crime Fund and Officer Training Fund of peace to the State of Missouri and the city treasury, as required.

• Barry Blevins, Community Development Manager for Sikeston, answered a question about abandoned vehicles in Sikeston.

• Heard from Theresa Chapman of No Mercy who wanted to rent the Clinton Building for her non-profit organization.

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