St. Louis kicks off five-year project to replace water lines

By Ralph Echtinaw

The annual 10 percent increases in water and wastewater charges that began in 2017 are starting to pay off, as city council got the ball rolling Tuesday to sell bonds financing new water mains on Maple Street and four streets on the north side.

The city intends to sell up to $4 million in bonds in the next five years to finance the work that “consist generally of the replacement of water mains, service leads, service laterals, valves, fire hydrants and the extension of water mains,” according to the authorizing resolution.

The first bond sale is expected to be about $1 million and and pay for Maple Street water main ($400,000) and water mains on Hebron (from Olive to just north of Prospect), Prospect (from Teman to Corinth), Berea (from Prospect to Tamrack) and Tamrack (from Berea to Corinth).

Council approved a contract Tuesday with the law firm Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone of Detroit as bond counsel for the water system improvement project. That will cost about $39,000.

Council also approved a $54,000 contract with Rowe Professional Services of Mt. Pleasant to develop a plan to replace water mains on Hebron, Prospect, Berea and Tamrack.

City Manager Kurt Giles said the Maple Street job (which includes sewer work and new asphalt) will be done next year. “Portions of the Prospect/Hebron/Berea/Tamrack that are selected are planned to be constructed in that general time frame also,” he said via email.

Some pavement will be torn up on Prospect, Hebron, Berea and/or Tamrack for the water main replacement, “but we won’t know the extent until routes are chosen in the design process,” Giles said.

Pavement on Maple Street between South Main and Michigan Avenue will be torn up and replaced, hopefully before Nikkari Elementary students return in September 2020.

Where the city goes from there is yet to be determined.

“We will need to look at the project costs, timing and need every year to determine where next we should plan a replacement,” said Public Services Director Keith Risdon via email. “This will also be looked at with regards to other city work such as paving and sanitary sewer projects so that we can better utilize our resources.”

The $1 million bond loan will be repaid at the rate of $67,000 to $70,000 over 20 years with an interest rate of 3 to 3.5 percent, Giles said. The money for payments will come from water and wastewater revenue.

Maple Street bids

Ten bids on the Maple Street reconstruction were opened Thursday, and Malley Construction of Mt. Pleasant appears to be low bidder at $1.25 million. The high bid was about $1.8 million. However, each bid must be checked for correct math. And the bidders’ qualifications to do the job must be verified. We won’t know until sometime next week who the final low bidder is.

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