The board for Denison Municipal Utilities (DMU) was faced with two questions last week concerning water distribution system improvements for the northeast side of the community.
The first question was whether to proceed with the financing nearly in place – a State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan at an interest rate of 2% – or to wait to see if the project is also awarded a $600,000 community development block grant (CDBG).
The DMU Board decided to wait, not only in anticipation of receiving the grant but also in the hope that metal prices will decrease.
The second question concerned the style of a new water tower to be constructed as part of the water distribution system improvements. Board members saw examples of two styles, decided to bid them both to see the price difference.
The water system improvement project involves demolishing DMU’s existing water tower near the Little League field along North 24th Street. It is too low and does not have enough capacity, Forrest Aldrich, V&K Engineering, explained to DMU Board members. A new 500,000 gallon water tower will be built by the ball field. It will be taller, which will create better water pressure for people living on top of the hill. A booster station will be constructed at the water tower along 18th Street (by Northside Rec) to pump water to the new tower.
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DMU General Manager said that DMU had hoped to be in the design and planning stages now and to do the project yet this year, but he said some holdups have occurred, including the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) taking longer than anybody anticipated to review and approve the facility plan.
Aldrich said other communities are also waiting on the DNR.
He continued that DMU submitted a facility plan to the DNR in March 2021. However, those in charge of the CDBG won’t approve an application until the facility plan has been approved by the DNR.
Aldrich said by going with just the SRF loan, DMU could receive bids on the project in four months from now. Work to clear the path for the loan is still being done; the DNR is in the middle of doing an environmental review, and Aldrich said the earliest DNR can get the environmental review done is at the end of March.
As for the CDBG process, Aldrich said the approval process is very competitive. The application period opens every three months; the next application deadline is April 1.
The difference in the timeline between starting the project soon or waiting to see if DMU receives the $600,000 block grant is about six months, with the new water tower being put into service in the fall of 2023 with the latter option, said Aldrich.
DMU cannot do both -…