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Council hears options for water project funding

Northeast Council of Governments representative Ted Dickey told the Mobridge City Council on Tuesday that water rates in Mobridge could pose a problem when trying to secure grant funding for needed water department projects from federal and state agencies.
The city is considering two projects for the water department including an $11.35 million water treatment plant renovation or replacement. This project also includes repairing or replacing the intake system in Lake Oahe and raising the north water tower or installing a booster pump to increase water pressure.
The current water rate of $25.72 per user for 5,000 gallons plus the additional $2.25 per 1,000 more gallons used over the 5,000 gallon rate.
The wastewater project in consideration is $1.8 million and includes updating and changing equipment such as screw pumps and the screening system. Other aspects of the project includes repairs to the wastewater buildings.
Current wastewater rates are $23 per 5,000 gallons.
Dickey told the council the engineers were working on the plans for these projects and need to get the cost projections nailed down before they present the projects to the council. He said there is funding available through state and federal agencies through low interest loans and grant funding. In order to be considered for grant funding, Dicky said the Mobridge water rates may be too low for officials to consider grants. He said rates that are currently being considered are $30 for wastewater and $46 for water rates.
If the applications are approved the city is not obligated to complete all of the aspects of the two projects, according to Dickey. The city can set priorities and complete some parts of these projects.
This is not the first time Dickey has told the council this information as he was reminded by Councilman Tony Yellowboy. Water rates have been raised in the past in order to secure funding through grants and low interest loans for large scale water projects. Yellowboy let the council know he is against any raise in water rates at this time. He said there are many people in the area out of work and they can’t afford raises to their bills.
Dickey then told the council there is other funding available for other projects such as trails, a new fire hall and renovation at Legion Memorial Park.
The council approved Mayor Gene Cox signing the applications for funding and moving forward with seeking outside funding through NECOG.
The council also approved the second reading of the City Ordinance 989 appropriations for the 2021 budget. Mobridge City Administrator and Finance Officer Heather Beck told the council she is comfortable with the proposed budget and is confident the revenues will be more than what she has projected.
In other business the Mobridge City Council:
• Heard Tom Dafnis request the city consider leasing land between the rubble site and the National Guard Armory to the Mobridge Trap Club as they are moving the club from the current location near Oahe Hills Golf Course. Dafnis said the club would negotiate with the current lease of the land if the council would consider the club’s request. The council will consider the lease when presented to them.
• Approved the step increase for Mobridge Police Officer Ashton Norder from $22.73 to $22.98 effective Aug. 31.
• Approved the step increase for Bo Kaiser in the water department from $18.41 to $18.93 effective Aug. 31.
• Approved the purchase of Beacon water meter software at a cost of $13,500.
• Approved the surplus of the following two vehicles from the street department: 1977 Ford F600 V8 flatbed truck 42,000 miles and 1993 Ford L8000 plow truck 165,000 needs new motor.
• Approved the increase to the expenditure budget to offset the unexpected expense for insurance payments of $43,090 for repairs to city hall and $10,069 for streetlights.

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