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by Mark Cheffey
The Palmyra City Council last Thursday voted to authorize the mayor to sign a Community Development Block Grant agreement involving $588,715 to be used for storm water drainage improvements.
Also during the council’s regular meeting, approval was given to two ordinances, one involving the Board of Public Works and the other establishing new minor subdivision requirements.
The grant funding, combined with $116,685 in city cash contribution is earmarked for engineering design, construction inspection, administration and construction of a water retention basin at the Jackson Park Golf Course and culverts on S. Dickerson St.
Passage of the ordinance concerning the BPW was made contingent on a possible change requested by BPW Superintendent Brent Abell.
The ordinance as approved continues to give power to the BPW to raise utility rates, but only after a rate study is completed showing the “change in rates is necessary for the Board to cover all expenditures and a reserve of no more than 10 percent of the total annual expenditures” of the BPW.
After consulting with board members, Abell expressed concern about the 10 percent figure, noting it may need to be larger for the city to be able to receive grant funding for projects.
He said he would like to consult with the city’s contracted engineer, Mark Bross, to determine a more workable percentage.
In light of Abell’s request, City Attorney James Lemon, who drafted the ordinance, gave the council three options and the council opted to go ahead and approved the ordinance and have any changes made later by amending the ordinance.
The council also gave unanimous approval to the ordinance establishing minor subdivision requirements.
The ordinance was the suggestion of Lemon, who told the council it will help prevent future problems surrounding the sale and development of small lots.
Street Commissioner Austin Dornberger gave an update on the Main Cross/Bradley St. bridge project, noting it is progressing with the possibility of it being completed ahead of schedule.
He also said Bross is working on a bid recommendation for the council to consider concerning Lane and Olive Street culverts.
Abell reported the new aeration system is up and operational at the city’s sewage treatment plant, which, he said is “on its way back to recovery.”
He said the city had received letters from the DNR noting the the plant was in violation of certain treatment perimeters, but the plant was already close to meeting the requirements.
It was noted the fairground arena’s wooden bleachers had been refurbished and were now ready for the upcoming Marion County Fair.
Lemon said the city had not received a signed fire station lease agreement from the Palmyra Fire Protection District, but that it was not of major concern at this point.