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Armstrong water treatment plant upgrades on hold

By Staff | Feb 4, 2014

A major upgrade of the City of Armstrong’s water treatment is apparently on hold pending a decision by GKN to come aboard as a partner.

At the Armstrong City Council meeting Monday night, Travis Winter of Bolton-Menk discussed the capital improvement plan the city commissioned with the engineering firm. Menk said the final plan could be ready for the March meeting.

Winter recapped the plan which addressed ongoing maintenance, street reconstruction, the city water plant and an upgraded wastewater treatment facility, with the most obvious issue the city lagoons and when that work could start.

“What we need is money,” said council member Jon Larsen.

Council member Don Leach agreed, saying until the city knew where GKN stood as far as signing on as a partner, the city couldn’t really move on the matter. “I’m kind of ill-prepared to look at this, quite frankly,” said Leach, who commended Winter on the report.

Winter recommended USDA Rural Development money as a funding source for both grants and loans with a 20- to 30-year payoff. He said a grant could cover up to 45 percent of the project.

That being said, Winter noted that the city was not under any pressure.

“You’re not on a compliance schedule (with the Iowa Department of Resources) right now,” said Winter. “But they (GKN) are.” Added Winter, “We handle those industrial user agreements (between cities and industries) quite frequently.”

“It’s all in their (GKN’s) court right now,” said city clerk Connie Thackery.

Mayor Greg Buum said he had met with GKN last Friday and expected it would take two to three weeks for a decision.

Winter offered as one example the City of Elmore which used $9 million in Rural Development money – $4 of which was in grants.

“Is that something we should be looking at now – is grants?” asked council member Adrian Hagebock.

Thackery said the city should first have the project laid out and ready to before.

Winter said the USDA looks at population and what the city could afford.

Council members at a Jan. 29 work session said a $50 minimum base fee recommended in an I&S Group sanitary sewer rate study was too high for people on fixed incomes.