By Michael Howell
Phase I of the Stevensville Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvement Project is coming to a close with just a smidgen of funds left in engineering and administration budgets. The $1.3 million project included installation of an ultra-violet disinfection facility, a new sludge drying bed, new flow metering and a stand-by generator for emergency operation.
A Preliminary Engineering Report outlining a phased improvement plan was drawn up in 2007. Phase I was paid for with a $100,000 Renewable Resource grant and a $395,000 grant from USDA Rural Development. The remaining debt is serviced by the sewer rates which are being increased annually according to plan.
Due to coming changes in DEQ regulations including more restrictive limits on nitrogen and phosphate contributions to the river, it has been decided to update the 2007 PER so that Phase II would include not only the renovation of the headworks, but would also include elements from Phase III, the installation of biological nutrient removal facility.
The headworks improvements include replacing old pumps, replacing the old manual bar screen with a perforated plate screen, and installing a vortex grit removal system. The cost of these improvements is estimated at about $1.57 million. The original estimate for the biological nutrient removal was $2.86 million, making a combined total of $4.43 million. By combining the projects and using an existing building and a few other cost saving measures, cost of the combined work has been reduced to $3.36 million The town will be applying for grants totaling about $1.97 million and carrying a debt for about $1.5 million. This debt, in the form of a revenue bond, will also be serviced by the existing sewer rate structure. The rates are set to increase by 2.8% on July1, 2012 and then again by 1.9% in 2013 and 2014.
“These improvements should keep us in compliance with regulations to the year 2020 and beyond,” said Mayor Gene Mim Mack.
The town council agreed to filing a pre-application for federal assistance with the FAA for funding for a taxiway extension project that is estimated to cost about $309,500. With a 90% to 10% match the federal grant would be $278,550. Airport Manager Don Misevic said that Montana Aeronautics has agreed to kick in $7,250. That would leave the town owing $23,000 in the match. Misevic said that he is requesting Montana Aeronautics to boost its participation to $15,000. This would reduce the Town’s share to $15,750. Misevic said that if Montana Aeronautics did not agree, the Town could refuse the grant if they found the match amount unacceptable.
Misevic said that one thing hindering development at the airport was that it was not in the incorporated town limits. Councilor Ron Klaphake said that there were only two ways to do it. Go to the legislature and get them to change the law so that a town could annex land that was not contiguous, or make it contiguous by acquiring something like a utility corridor linking the town to the airport.
Auditing firm selected
With only two bidders the Town Council awarded the auditing contract to low bidder Junkermier, Clark, Campanella, Stevens, P.C. (JCCS). The company will do a two-year audit covering 2010 and 2011 for $11,000 and will follow up with a one year audit for 2012 for $9,800.