May 1, 2013 | LXXIII, No. 5

Elmer City: two-town sewer plant contract ending early

Elmer City has advised the town of Coulee Dam that their agreement on the wastewater treatment plant is over.

A letter dated April 22, states that a 1976, 50-year agreement no longer controls the relationship between the towns, and after Elmer City makes its final bond payment on the USDA bonds that financed its portion of the plant, on March 1, 2014, the agreement is over.

The letter states: “Going forward, Elmer City is willing to engage in negotiations to enter into a new agreement based upon the proposed expansion of Coulee Dam’s wastewater treastment facilities. However, Elmer City is considering its own independent wastewater treatment options as well and will make a decision concerning this matter sometime in the future as details of Coulee Dam’s proposed expansion develop and emerge.

“Depending on which option is more suited to Elmer City’s interests, a new arrangement with the Town of Coulee Dam may be an appropriate measure and is certainly something that will be considered by Elmer City as the relationship with Coulee Dam has proven mutually beneficial for so many years.”

The relationship between the two towns started to unravel a bit when Elmer City couldn’t get a satisfactory answer to whether it was considered a “customer” or a “partner.” Elmer City saw itself as a partner, and yet, officials there stated, officials from their town were not consulted during the planning process for the new expanded plant.

In a meeting between the two town councils a few months ago, Coulee Dam Attorney Michael Howe stated that if the two towns were not satisfied with their current agreement they should negotiate a new one.

Elmer City has stated that its residents cannot afford the size project that Coulee Dam has planned.

Accordingly, Elmer City has voted to proceed, albeit slowly, to determine if it should build its own plant.

One of its council, Larry Holford, has stated that he would prefer that Elmer City make some kind of satisfactory arrangement with Coulee Dam.

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