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Thursday, January 4th was a big day for the community of Elk Bend. It marked the end of the seven year process that went into building a $2 million sewer plant.

Elk Bend Sewer District Secretary/Treasurer Eleanor Wisner told the Lemhi County Commissioners January 8 that as of the previous Thursday evening at 6PM all three lift stations as well as the plant itself officially went on-line, “…without a glitch.” She said the new facility has been credited by Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) officials as being one of the most efficient and up-to-date plants in the country.

Wisner along with East Central Idaho Planning and Development Company representative Rick Miller met with the Lemhi County Commissioners to wrap up the project’s final details which included a public hearing update on the project’s use of Community Block Grant funds and officially entering the project on the county tax rolls. User fees per sewer hook-up will be $20 per month collected on a semi-annual basis. The fees will start being collected next year and will be used to repay the USDA (US Department of Agriculture) and Rural Development loans. Miller said the funds came through the HUD program (Department of Housing and Urban Development.)

To date Miller said expenditures total $461,000 of Community Block Grant funds, $612,000 of USDA loan funds, $341,000 of USDA Grant funds and approximately $341,000 of US Army Corps of Engineers funds. He said there was also a DEQ grant for the initial feasibility study and that there will be a few funds left from the USDA grant to finish landscaping details this Spring. Wisner said the accomplishment of obtaining all the grants involved was directly due to Miller’s efforts.

It is the job of The Development Company to liaison and guide communities through the hoops of meeting all Community Block Grant and other grant funded project requirements. The company has a long relationship with the county going back to the days of Industrial Park construction then on to the Business and Innovation Center facility, city water and sewer projects as well as overseeing grant specifications for the hospital. Miller told the commissioners the actual construction on the plant began last fall and has been rated by its lead engineer to be one of the smoothest and most enjoyable projects ever.

Very high praise was also given to local contractor Dahle Construction of Salmon. Referring to the crews and the company Wisner said, “We were so thankful. The state and the federal people and the Army Corps of Engineers have just raved about their performance.” She said the specifications book for the project is 720 pages long and Dahle’s, “…just rattled right through it.”

Wisner said the project began in 2010 with the first feasibility study regarding replacement of the original sewer plant constructed in 1969. In addition to grant monies Wisner said the Elk Bend Sewer District contributed $100,000 to the project

County Commissioner Brett Barsalou is an Elk Bend resident and confirmed how much of an improvement the new plant is to the community.

In her January 8 report to the County Commissioners, County Treasurer Mary Ann Heiser said the recent tax drive was very, very successful. She said a total of $3,592,000 was collected. As far as interest on county investments a total of $26,402 has been earned since the fiscal year began on October 1.

Tax due semi-annual summaries were included in the Treasurer’s report submitted by Heiser and she said that eight tax deed properties, delinquent since 2013, will be in the county’s April 23 tax deed sale. The sale includes properties that have been donated to the county. Warrants of Distraint or, notices to seize property on which taxes are owed, have been sent to 77 mobile home properties. Tax deeding for properties delinquent since 2014 will be announced the morning of April 23.

Heiser said anyone interested in the tax deed properties may obtain further information from the Treasurer’s office.

During other department reports Road and Bridge Supervisor Chris Frederickson said the county has sent its road grader downriver twice to plow the Salmon River Road. Last year the Forest Service signed a cooperative agreement with the county to contribute on site equipment for the river road plowing however; Fredrickson said he has been informed the Forest Service road grader is unavailable due to needed repairs. Fredrickson is awaiting a report on when the grader is expected to be operational.

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