Future Polk water lines estimated at $5.6M

Published 4:55 pm Friday, March 9, 2012

Water plant estimated at additional $5M
Polk County commissioners now have a clear picture of how much it will cost to connect the area’s water systems.
Polk County Engineer Dave Odom presented cost estimates to county commissioners Monday, March 5 including running lines from Green Creek to Polk Central School, from Polk Central to Hwy. 108, from Hwy. 108 to a storage tank, from the storage tank to the planned water treatment plant and from the water plant to Sunny View School.
The estimates for water lines and a 250,000-gallon storage tank totaled $5,688,203, including contingency and engineering fees. Odom said constructing a water plant capable of handling two million gallons per day is estimated to cost an additional $5 million.
The most costly water line project is estimated to be running lines from the storage tank to the water plant at $2,080,108. Running water lines from Hwy. 108 to the storage tank and constructing the storage tank is estimated to cost $1,219,914, with lines from Peniel Road to Polk Central Elementary estimated at $1,024,947, lines from the water plant to Sunny View Elementary estimated at $818,996 and lines from Polk Central Elementary to Hwy. 108 estimated at $544,238.
Odom said the most logical stages for the project are for Phase I to include connecting the water line at Peniel Road on Hwy. 9 to Polk Central Elementary and for phase II to include connecting Polk Central Elementary to Hwy. 108, then constructing a water storage tank. The water storage tank itself is estimated at $625,000.
The specific property for the water tank has not yet been selected, but Odom suggested it be located on Silver Creek Road to achieve the needed 1,300 elevation.
The next phase would be to extend lines north from the Mill Spring crossroads to the future treatment plant with a 24-inch water line, and the final phase would be to connect the water plant to Sunny View School along Hwy. 9. Commissioners in the past have said the water plant needs to be located on county-owned property near the transfer station off Hwy. 9 in Mill Spring.
Although all commissioners seem in favor of connecting its systems, there is disagreement as to when the lines should be constructed. Commissioner chair Ray Gasperson, vice-chair Renée McDermott and Cindy Walker approved paying off the senior center loan on March 5, while commissioners Ted Owens and Tom Pack voted against paying off the loan, saying they’d rather spend fund balance money to run water lines.
Commissioners held off on running a line to Polk Central Elementary last year after the school board told commissioners they’d rather have an additional $400,000 from the county to continue programs, mainly the preschool program, that were at risk because of state budget cuts. The school system made repairs to the well at Polk Central in order to be in compliance with state regulations.
Polk County Schools Superintendent Bill Miller said the wells at both Sunny View and Polk Central elementary schools currently meet all state standards, with upgrades having been completed over the past two years.
When asked if the county should run a water line to Polk Central, Miller said he thinks sometime in the future all the schools need public water, but he also has to have money to keep running the schools.
He said the Polk Central well has served the school successfully since the 1960s, but it is also his opinion that well water is not a long-term option for running school systems.
Pack asked county manager Ryan Whitson if he has a plan for when the county can begin laying the water lines. Whitson answered that he would need guidance from the board regarding how the board plans to pay for the lines and what are acceptable fund balances to keep.
Odom said he has drafted letters that should go out this week to property owners along Hwy. 9 between Peniel Road and Polk Central Elementary asking if they would be interested in becoming water customers. Owens handed Odom a list of 14 names along the route he said have interest in being customers.
Citizen comments regarding the future water lines came from Debbie Arceneaux, who said she lives in Mill Spring in an area that will never get the water.
“I do not agree with this system,” Arceneaux said. “My taxes will be paying for an enormous system I’ll never be able to use.”
Marvin Arledge, however, said Sunny View needs water.
“Don’t forget we’re over here,” Arledge said. “I don’t care if you raise taxes; whatever you need to do. What if I wake up one morning and my well’s dry? Come on, guys. Help us just a little bit.”