The second city council meeting held in March is for equalization purposes, but the big story of the March 18 meeting of the Clark City Council dealt with ongoing plans of the city’s wastewater treatment project.
As Clark Mayor Larry Dreher began discussion during the public hearing scheduled for the wastewater treatment project, he talked of the first hurdle the city needs to get over for the project – the acquiring of land for a total retention pond.
“The state is talking that we need 240 acres, and I’d be happy with 160 acres,” Dreher said, and he continued how this is a huge key in going forward with the project. “The big thing here is finding someone willing to sell property to the city.”
Eminent Domain is the ability of a government entity to acquire property for projects, such as this, but Mayor Dreher stated that he would much rather have a land owner consent to selling before he would force someone to sell land to the city so a lagoon could be built on this property.
Dreher explained to the council that the state of South Dakota is mandating that the city of Clark come up with this total retention pond lagoon system as the city needs a different option to the current system. The current system discharges to a stream that flows to Indian Springs where fishing is allowed. The state notified Clark that a different option is needed and that has led to this $4.9 million Total Retention Pond lagoon system recommendation.
The platform was then turned over to city finance officer Jackie Luttrell. She explained the financial side of this project for the city as well as the five resolutions which needed to be approved by the council; the resolutions were approved by the council at Monday’s meeting.
Luttrell said that she had just found out this week that Clark will be put on the state water plan, and she stated that the survey that residents had filled out is very close to being completed. “We (city of Clark) need to be below 51.5 percent of income qualifying guidelines to be eligible for a grant and we are very close to this figure,” Luttrell said.
The city finance officer then talked about how much the 600 hook up rates in the city would be raised. She didn’t have any absolute firm numbers as it would depend on state and federal grants, but she did say that if the project cost the city $5,000,000, then approximate rates could go up $37.00 a month. If it was a $3,000,000 price tag to the city, residential water rates could go up $22.00 and if it was a $2,000,000 project, then rates could go up $16.00. If no help was given by the federal/state government, then these rates could escalate to $48/$33/$20 a month.
The resolutions passed by the council dealt with: a 3.25% (interest) loan by DENR; necessary improvements for the Rural Development loan; federal block grant and CDBG ($515,000) grant forms; needs identification; and environmental protection exemption status. Mayor Dreher then signed these respective resolutions.