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Re: Coulee Dam wastewater treatment facility

Letter to the Editor

 


The town has all worked for the past 10 years, grappling with ideas, thoughts, concepts, and a lot of hard work regarding the wastewater treatment facility design and implementation. The process involved an amalgamation of two mayors, a few engineers, a thought from here and a concept from there, AND we’ve come together. After looking at a number of different concepts, we adopted the Preliminary Engineering Report, which is a requirement to move forward. We’ve virtually completed the environmental processes and approved the engineering contracts. Rural Development, our funding agency, has now approved the engineering contract, and we expect a funding in the form of a grant/loan package within the next month or so. The final step in the process is our Town Public Hearing leading to funding certainty, so please join with our celebration on Feb. 24, 5:30 p.m., Town Hall!

There are things yet to be finished. First, although we’ve begun, we need to complete the design and engineering … that will take from six to nine months.  Secondly, we need to actually build our new, efficient, and environmentally-compliant plant, which will take another 12 to 18 months. And thirdly, we need to understand and operate and maintain our new plant.

Through all of this, we will manage the costs and capitalization strategy so that your user fees (rates) are kept at reasonable levels. You will remember that in 2014 we reduced your user sewer fees and have kept them frozen and are working toward keeping your monthly fees controlled. And we are likewise exploring our water fees to also find a paradigm based on shared resources and procedures.

As you know, we are still bound between our two sister towns — Coulee Dam and Elmer City. By the way of that agreement, we are destined for another nine years.  Although we have anticipated that Elmer City may withdraw from our agreement, we have strategized our mitigation(s) impacting our fiscal costs. Of course, we remain hopeful that we can craft a new long-term synergistic arrangement between the two of us.

Be well, and thank you for all of your patience.

F. Gregory Wilder, Mayor

Coulee Dam

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