Friday, May 24, 2024
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Baxter To Begin Engineering Services For Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrades

The City of Baxter will enter into a contract for engineer services for its wastewater treatment plant improvements project.

Baxter was approved for $3 million through the USDA to upgrade its 30-year-old wastewater treatment facility. City Engineer Tom Bennett said that the city will receive 50 percent through grant funding and 50 percent through a low-interest loan.

Bennett said that the work had been some five years in the making.

“The city began to really embark on this process on what needs there were at their wastewater treatment plant,” Bennett said. “Not only what there was currently, but what the future demands would be for the growth of the city.”

Bennett said that the next steps for the contract with Bennett Associates Inc. will be to get the project designed, permitted, and then issued for bid. He said as of now, they have one year for that process. Including construction, he said the city expects the project to take up to 2.5 years from now until completion.

“It’s kind of one of those projects that is a little bit out of sight out of mind,” Bennett said. “Sewer and water are things that we don’t really look at as things that are really visible to the community. I think really the neat thing is where you have these really nice grants and loan combinations. These are not things that are impacting ratepayers greatly because we have such a substantial grant and then the rest of it is just defrayed over such a period of time.”

Bennett said that current interest on the loan portion of the funding is some 1.75 percent to be paid over the next 38 years.

In other business, the Baxter Board of Zoning Appeals approved a variance for a new billboard off of Fast Lane for Hoover Automotive. Building and Codes Official Bob Lane said that the city’s current ordinance only allows a sign to be 300 square feet, and that this new sign is projected to be 464 square feet.

Lane said that the business can only do self-advertisements, but can put community messages on the programmable billboard. He said that this feature would benefit the community because the billboard will have the capability to broadcast school events, community events, and emergency messages.

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