WATER TREATMENT UPGRADE MANDATES
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OPEN HOUSE ON SYSTEM UPGRADES 1-20-11 LMS

The Salmon City Council will be hosting an Open House on Wednesday, February 9th, to explain the need for Wastewater System Upgrades.

City Finance Director Amy Fealko told the Salmon City Council January 19th that the main topic discussed that day by the city’s Finance Committee involved the mandated improvements needed at the Wastewater Facility. She said, “The Finance Committee does recommend that the city borrow approximately $2 million through DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) for improvements to the waste water plant.”

It was also recommended that the bond approval be obtained through the Judicial Confirmation Process rather than a public vote. Fealko explained the reasoning behind a Judicial Confirmation is; the system upgrades are Environmental Protection Agency mandated and if not done the city would be subject to fines. Councilman Ken Gutzman later quoted the EPA out-of-compliance fine at $36,000 per day.

Fealko said the $2 million would be spent predominantly on the plant’s filter and that DEQ recommends a pilot program be initiated first to test a maximum of three different filters in order to determine which is best for this particular facility.

Fealko said, “The sewer rates would not need to be increased over where they are right now, at the $35, to repay the DEQ loan.’

The committee also recommended initiating the process of obtaining a trash rack for the plant. The rack will cost around $400,000. Fealko thinks the money can come from cash flow without the need of financing and that it should be done as soon as possible. The Finance Committee also reviewed Fealko’s first fiscal quarter figures and found that all department funds are healthy and on track, except for the Streets and Alleys Fund. She said the department has taken a big hit to salaries with the excessive snow and extra sanding material needs. The loan acquired for the street sweeper purchase is the main reason for the department’s negative fund balance and will be reversed with the two year pay off schedule.

Salary adjustments for water and wastewater operators were another topic discussed. City Administrator George Ambrose presented information on what other cities the size of Salmon are paying operators and he said Salmon’s pay scale appears to be comparable. The committee recommended placing the subject on the February 16th City Council meeting agenda.

Hosting an Open House to explain the wastewater system needs and mandates was a recommendation of the Finance Committee. Councilmen Jim Baker, Ken Gutzman and Ron Radford are members of the committee. Baker commented that proceeding in the direction of a Judicial Confirmation rather than a public vote bond election will allow the city to begin the process this year instead of having to wait until next year. He said a public open house presentation on system needs will give city residents an opportunity to question engineers and speak with city officials. Detailed cost analysis and explanations of needs will be also be presented.

The council voted to move forward with obtaining names of companies and cost estimates for the filter pilot program so that all the information will be ready when funding is secured.

The informational Open House on mandated wastewater system improvements will start at 5PM Wednesday, February 9th, in the Salmon Valley Center meeting room. A presentation by the engineering firm of Keller and Associates will begin at 5:30.


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