The fate of a $13 million water improvement project is now in the hands of the Hannibal City Council.

Board of Public Works General Manager Bob Stevenson told the council Tuesday night that voters approved the sale of up to $12,960,000 in bonds for the project in 2013.  Roughly half of the total cost is to satisfy DNR mandates. The remaining amount is needed to improve water quality and reliability.  The bond sale upon final approval would be made through the Mo DNR  State Revolving Fund.  The interest rate is expected to be around 2% or less.  Stevenson says this is a very favorable rate that will literally save millions in interest payments by financing the project through the state.

The improvements will be broken down into four separate contracts:

  • Water Treatment Plant Improvements
  • Raw Water Pipe Replacement
  • Water Tower Replacement on the South Side
  • Distribution System Extensions including water mains in the West Ely Road area, General Mills and areas west toward the hospital.

Stevenson says much of the work will be awarded to local contractor Bleigh Construction once the bond financing is approved.  Bleigh will install the raw water pipes and the main extensions.  Phoenix Fabricators was the low bidder on the South Side water tower.

The Bill received a First Reading Tuesday evening. It is scheduled for a Second and Final Reading October 6.  Upon approval, work on the projects could begin in mid-November. Stevenson says the total cost of the improvements will exceed the $12,960,000 price tag.  In order to complete the projects, BPW will have to come up with a few thousand dollars from its reserve fund.

On a related matter, Stevenson says the changeover to an alternate water purification process may be delayed a few days past the October 1 deadline. The city has been out of compliance with federal drinking water standards since 2012, due to a chemical byproduct remaining in the water from the current chlorination method.  The new method uses chloramines, a mixture of chlorine and a small amount of ammonia.  Although it is expected to bring the amount of disinfection byproducts into compliance,  the new process is more expensive and requires more precise application.

In other business, the city landfill that has been closed for nearly 25 years continues to cost time and money due to Missouri DNR regulations.  City Manager Jeff LaGarce told council members that the city was cited in 2009 and 2014  for violations of leachate overspill.  The fines total $64,000.  However, all but just over $18,000 can be eliminated if the city agrees to complete Supplemental Environmental Agreements in lieu of the fines.  The SEP's include creating grasslands near Delaney Park, purchase of recyclable picnic tables, and hosting one or two Bear Creek Cleanup Days.

But the costs do not stop there.  LaGarce says with or without the SEP's, the city will incur additional costs due to stricter DNR requirements.  The requirements mean more frequent sampling for contaminants and additional fill to lessen leachate contamination.  Total costs could exceed $50,000 in the next few years.  The council voted to approve a settlement agreement with DNR to address the mandates.

Hannibal Convention and Visitor's Bureau Director Gail Bryant received council approval to execute a grant application allowing the city to act as a pass-thru agent and a host community to the 2016 Statewide Historic Preservation Conference.

Second and Final Readings were given to Bills:

  • Setting the city property tax rate for 2015 at $1.1678 per $100 assessed valuation.
  • Adopting final environmental restrictive covenants related to 929 Warren Barrett Drive (formerly Display Center) pursuant to the Brownfields Cleanup Program as part of the Flood Buyout Program.  The restrictions include no residential use of the property and no potable use of groundwater.
  • Annexing a 3.6 acre tract of just off Clover Road after 6 property owners in the  area requested the change.