MORRISON – Wanted: One plot of land, suitable for a sewage treatment plant.
The City Council Monday gave Mayor Everett Pannier permission to solicit offers from private landowners for a site on which to build a new $23 million wastewater treatment plant.
Pannier wants a spot downstream from the current site in Waterworks Park. While much of the project likely will be paid for with an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency loan, the land would have to be bought with existing funds or a loan from somewhere else, he said.
“Once we know the cost, we’ll look at funding,” Pannier said.
The mayor has said he has two or three sites in mind, but declined to say exactly where they are. He did say he would like to see the council vote on land offers within a month.
Residents and park users have complained the rebuilding of the plant in Waterworks, which would take up more space and require a pond, would damage their property values and limit their use and enjoyment of the popular park.
The engineer’s cost estimate includes $640,000 to buy a site south of the park.
Also Monday, the council discussed raising sewer rates to pay for the project.
Pannier said the city is not ready to set a specific rate-hike schedule, but the council must make a resolution in the next 2 or 3 weeks that states that the city will set rates high enough to repay the loan. Without that assurance, the IEPA may not be willing to provide it.
“It will have to be passed before much longer if we want to go after those loans,” he said. “We can’t sit back and wait forever. We need to move at some point.”
The council also voted to amend the Whiteside and Carroll County Enterprize Zone to include a planned $4 million assisted living center.
Developers expect 40 to 60 construction jobs to be created, followed by 20 jobs at the center, at least six of which will be full time.
Being included in the zone means tax and other development incentives for the center.
Council members also agreed to lend Resthave Home of Whiteside County $300,000 to assist with its expansion.
The money will be repaid at a 3 percent interest rate over 10 years. The loan will be made from the city’s revolving fund, which has money from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.