Required water infrastructure improvements

Photo by Shari Harris
This water tower and the Plaza elevated tower can 
no longer be used for the municipal water system.

By Shari Harris

  The City of Licking held the first of two planned community meetings related to required water infrastructure improvements on March 5 at Fox Fire Station.

  The low attendance and confusion surrounding the upcoming bond issue have city leaders concerned. Alderman Greg Green reported hearing that some people think if the bond issues don’t pass, the infrastructure changes won’t happen. Regardless of the outcome of the bond issues, the improvements are being required by the Mo. Dept. of Natural Resources, and the City is left to decide how to pay for the changes.

  The City of Licking needs an estimated $3,800,000 to pay for badly needed water infrastructure improvements. The Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources is requiring improvements to the current system to ensure residents have access to safe, reliable, and high-quality drinking water.

  The City is seeking $1,160,000 in USDA and CDBG grant funding, which is over 30% of the total project cost. The City will only be eligible for those grants if the bond issues pass. Another advantage of approving the two bond issues is that the City will be able to borrow money at government subsidized interest rates of approximately 3.5%.

  If the bond issues fail, the City will have to finance 100% of the cost of improvements, and in more expensive ways, such as more costly options at market interest rates. The monthly rate could easily be $49.00 or more per month.

  Bring your questions to the second and final meeting at the Senior Center on March 28 at 6 p.m. The City hopes for a larger community participation in this meeting to facilitate the spread of correct information about the improvements.

  The City of Licking is faced with expensive, necessary improvements to the water infrastructure, and the money to pay for it, in part at least, will come from the taxpayers. The question may be, will taxpayers pay 70% or 100% of the cost?




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