Council OKs funds for Wastewater Plant

Patrick Fisher, Staff Writer

It's been a long process and a lot of consideration was needed.

That was Mayor W.A. Bink Bender's comment after the New Prague City Council approved a resolution for funds for the city's new Wastewater Treatment Facility during it's meeting Monday, Dec. 1.

In the resolution, the council accepted an offer from the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority to purchase a $33 million general obligation wastewater treatment facility revenue note.

New Prague City Administrator Mike Johnson explained city staff had been working on the documents for the loan that will pay for the project. The city is expected to be able to draw on the funds by December 26. The repayment period for the loan is 20 years with an interest rate of 3.127 percent.

Work on the new treatment plant at 601 12th St. NE began in late September. The new facility will replace the current one, which is on the same site. The new plant is being built on 20 acres on the north side of the property and will include new state-of-the-art technologies. The equipment will discharge cleaner water and include a bio-solid dryer that will remove water from the solid wastes. The remaining product can then be used as a source of fuel or fertilizer. Completion of the new facility is scheduled for 2010.

Johnson noted for the city to maintain its standards and continue to grow the council needed to approve the resolution.

Utility budgets

The council unanimously approved the water utility budget and the electric utility budget for 2009.

New Prague Public Works Director Dennis Seurer explained that the water utility budget reflected a seven percent increase in water rates for 2009. He noted the increase is necessary to pay for and maintain capital additions such as water treatment plants, wells, water towers and replacement of old water mains during the city's street reconstruction projects.

Seurer said the 2009 budget reflects a $159,942 deficit in revenues versus expenses. While the deficit is due to significant capital improvement projects, it will be offset by existing designated capital funds.

For the electric utility budget, Seurer said staff was recommending an overall increase of seven percent that will be distributed equally to all customer classes. Also proposed was the allocation of $10,000 in funds to help collect fluorescent bulbs. Seurer noted that since the utility is promoting energy saving fixtures that have mercury, staff would have to look at how to properly dispose of old bulbs.

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