May 15, 2013 | LXXIII, No. 7

Coulee Dam rejects early end of contract

A request from the town of Elmer City to get out of its wastewater plant joint operating agreement with Coulee Dam was turned down by that town council last Wednesday night.

In a letter to Coulee Dam officials, Elmer City Mayor Mary Jo Carey requested that the present joint agreement, some 37 years into its 50-year term, be dissolved.

She has maintained that action by Coulee Dam reveals that the joint operation agreement no longer controls the relationship between the two towns.

The Coulee Dam council quickly rejected the proposal.

Elmer City has publicly stated that as soon as it makes its final bond payment, on March 1, 2014, the existing agreement will end.

Carey stated in her letter: “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 treatment 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.”

Coulee Dam had hoped to have its $4.92 million plant underway by 2014, but opposition to the size and location of the plant have hindered progress.

The plan is to build the plant on the town’s present site.

Opposition on that score heated up as community activist Greg Wilder and the Elmer City council objected and requested that Coulee Dam do a study on where the best site might be. Some in Elmer City talked about a site for the plant near Belvedere.

Coulee Dam council did agree to delay action on moving forward on its plan for 30 days to give Wilder time to find the money for the alternative analysis.

That time will be up later this month.

Wilder has claimed that Coulee Dam’s engineering firm, Gray & Osborne, failed to consider alternative sites in its initial proposal to the town.

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