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Commission approves agreement for treatment plant project

Moving forward with phase two of the wastewater treatment plant improvement project, the Concordia city commission approved a financial services agreement with Piper Sandler during its regular meeting on Wednesday.

The commission, meeting via Zoom video conferencing, approved a motion to authorize city finance director Amber Farha to sign the financial services agreement with Piper Sandler for services associated with the issuance of general obligation bonds for the wastewater treatment plant phase two project in the amount of $40,000 to be paid from the wastewater fund.

The estimated construction cost for phase two of the improvements at the plant is $3.8 million.

Dustin Avey, managing director of the public finance group with Piper Sandler, presented a possible timeline for the issuance of general obligation bonds for the project. The bond sale would tentatively be set for September 16.

Avey informed the commissioners that interest rates for financing the project were really looking good earlier in the year.

We were running some cash flow projections for a 20-year bond issue at somewhere between 2.25 and 2.5 percent. Which is really incredibly low,” Avey said.

As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the bond market became more volatile with interest rates moving to above three percent.

Avey said that over the last 14 business days they have seen a drastic improvement in interest rates.

So from an interest rate prospective we are probably, on a 20-year bond issue, going to be very, very close to that 2.25 to 2.5 percent rate,” Avey said, “From a marketing prospective I do feel very, very good that you are going to be attracting a number of bids, and those bids will result in a very good outcome for the city and project.”

Construction on phase one of the treatment plant improvements was completed in August, 2018 with a total cost of $2,748,140.53.

The project is being funded by a per meter added charge to city water customers.

A $5 per month charge was added in December 2013. That was increased to $10 per month in December 2014. The funds generated are intended to cover the cost of phase one and the design for phase two.

The commission approved a $4 per month charge earlier this year to begin in January 2021 after the $2 per month charge for improvements at the Municipal Swimming Pool is removed.

Authorizing the design contract for phase two of the project in the amount of $149,600 was approved by the city commission on June 2019.

The commission voted last month to authorize city manager Amy Lange to enter into a supplemental contract with Professional Engineering Consultants, P. A. in the amount of $85,500.

The design for the project is to be 60 percent completed at the end of May.

Bid letting on the project is anticipated to occur in the fall of this year.

Also during the meeting, Neil Phillips of Jarred, Gilmore & Phillips, presented the 2019 audit report to the commission.

The board approved accepting the audit report as presented and authorized Mayor Mark Matthew to sign the management presentation letter.

The commission approved reappointing Cheryl Lanoue and Steven Connor to three-year terms on the Board of Building Trades.

Dates for discussion with the commissioners and city staff on the creation of the 2021 budget were scheduled for July 13 at 3 p.m., July 15 following the regular commission meeting, and July 21 at 3 p.m.

The commission proclaimed the week of May 17-23 as Emergency Medical Services Week to recognize the value and accomplishments of emergency medical services and providers.

During her city manager’s report, Lange discussed the potential opening of the swimming pool.

The city was planning to open the swimming pool with the implementation of Phase 3 of Governor Laura Kelly’s Ad Astra: Plan to Reopen Kansas, which had a target date of June 15.

Kelly executed executive order 20-34 on Wednesday which increased the limit on public gatherings from no more 10 to no more than 15 people.

Lange said that there is speculation that the limit on public gatherings when Phase 3 is implemented will be 45 people instead of 90.

The 45 person limit of Phase 3 to open our pool, which is what we had said, really causes us some challenges because we typically have more than 45 people at one time at the pool,” Lange said. “When that limit was 90 we weren’t quite as concerned.”

The city staff discussed options for moving forward with opening the pool if the limit is 45 people. Staff and lifeguards are not counted in that number.

Lange said that one solution proposed, which is what some other communities are doing, is using an online signup system for pool patrons to schedule certain time slots.

Patrons could sign up for two hour time slots, which aligns with the current break times during the afternoon public swims. After two hours one group would leave, the staff would take a break, and enhanced cleaning would be done prior to the next group entering the pool.

Lange also reported that the delivery of the equipment ordered for phase three of the swimming pool enhancement program, including a climbing wall and zip line, had been delayed to some time in June.

City crews have already prepared the pool for the installation of the equipment.

There is currently no set delivery date for the equipment.

Concordia Blade-Empire

510 Washington St.
Concordia, KS 66901