Water plant project moves ahead
Plans to build a new water treatment plant serving Waterloo residents took a major step forward Monday night.
The Waterloo City Council approved an ordinance authorizing the city to borrow funds from the Public Water Supply Loan Program through the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency in an amount not to exceed $25 million.
Per the text of this ordinance, the loan will be repaid from revenues of the system, with principal and interest payable semi-annually. The loan matures in 20 years.
The ordinance also states “there are insufficient funds on hand and lawfully available to pay” the costs of the city’s new plant without the loan.
Last year, the city purchased nearly 28 acres of land in the area of 7800 Bluff Road from the Village of Valmeyer for $215,000. This land will be the well site for the new water treatment plant.
In July 2019, Waterloo purchased 9.17 acres of land off East Hunters Ridge just east of Valmeyer for the future site of the treatment facility. The cost of that purchase was $229,250 and included 8,830 feet of easement both west and east of the future plant site for the installment of water line.
The water source for this new plant is the Mississippi Aquaphor just north of Valmeyer.
Once completed, Waterloo’s new plant will be able to accommodate 3.5 million gallons of water per day. Presently, Waterloo uses about one million gallons per day.
Waterloo announced plans in February 2019 to build its own facility and leave Illinois American Water, its current provider, at the end of an existing contract that expires in October 2024.
Next steps in the project include going out for bids before construction of the plant, which is estimated to take about 12-14 months to complete.
In related news, city employees began work Monday to run a water line to the site of a planned new water tower to be built on the Waterloo VFW property as part of the new treatment plant project.
The city purchased this land for the new tower for $75,000. The new tower will have a storage capacity of 500,000 gallons of water.
The existing tower next to Waterloo City Hall has a capacity of 250,000 gallons. The estimated cost of this new water tower is $2.5 million.
Also on Monday night, the council amended city ordinance to extend residency requirements for all city employees to within 10 miles of Waterloo City Hall. The previous residency requirement was 1.5 miles.
The council also amended city code on the use of chain link fencing on public property to include splash pads and pickleball courts.
The amended ordinance now states: “A fence constructed of chain link material is not allowed forward of the rear face of the house structure, with the exception of pools, splash pads, tennis and pickleball courts on public property.”
Yet another amendment was made to city ordinance Monday night, this one in regard to ground or pole-mounted solar energy systems.
Waterloo Zoning Administrator Nathan Krebel explained that with the city’s new net metering policy, this action was proactive.
“Right now, we have 10 solar roof-mounted systems in Waterloo and we know that sooner than later, someone’s going to apply for a ground-mount or full-mount in, hopefully it would be in their backyard,” Krebel told aldermen, adding there was concern expressed about large such systems being placed on smaller lots and causing issues with next-door neighbors.
“The decision was made to go ahead and say no pole or ground-mounted systems at this time,” he said.
Waterloo Mayor Tom Smith also read a proclamation designating March 29 as Vietnam Veterans Day in Waterloo.
“While no words will ever be fully worthy for their service, nor any honor truly befitting their sacrifice, let us remember that it is never too late to pay tribute to the men and women who answered the call of duty with courage and valor,” Smith read.
On hand for the proclamation reading were Waterloo VFW Commander John Fuller and VFW member Gerald Nungesser, who is a Vietnam veteran.
On March 29, the city is hosting a Vietnam Veterans Day program at 10 a.m. in front of the Monroe County Courthouse near the bandstand.
The public is invited to attend to honor and “welcome home” those who served during the Vietnam War era.
In preparation for Firebird Fest coming to Waterloo on May 21, the council approved the spending of $1,200 from the city’s hotel-motel tax fund toward the $3,100 total cost of having K-SHE 95 make a remote radio appearance at the event.
Other nuggets from Monday’s meeting include approval of a Waterloo Beautification Grant application from Tony Groves for his property located at 130 W. Mill Street and approval of a special use permit for a home beauty salon operated by Erika Patel at 1211 Lou Del Street.