City of Miller flush with money following $750,000 grant, still on hook for $1.2 million match

By: 
Steve Chapman

Proceeds will be used for upgrades to wastewater treatment system
 
The City of Miller has been awarded a $750,000 community block development grant by the Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED). The city announced the award via their Facebook page on Friday, Dec. 4.
Stacy Daniels, mayor of Miller, said the money will be used to pay for upgrades to the city’s wastewater system.
“The project will include installation of a NitrOx System, ancillary equipment, and site piping following the secondary lagoon cell for better ammonia reduction,” Daniels said. “(Also), installation of a Tablet Chlorination System near the location of the discharge from the existing tertiary lagoon cell for disinfection, replacement of the existing eight-inch influent pipe into the lagoon with a 15-inch diameter pipe and rehabilitation of existing sewer lines in existing right of way, mainly with point repairs.”
Daniels said the city went through a lengthy process to qualify for the grant.
“To qualify for the grant there are two markers the city needed to meet: residents water/ sewer bill (at) more than 2-percent of the Low to Moderate Income threshold, and to qualify as a Low to Moderate Income Community,” she said. “To see if we qualified, the city had to send out a Low to Moderate Income survey provided from the DED to all water/sewer customers. Once we received the number of surveys needed, Sue Bacorn then provided the DED with the surveys to see if Miller qualified.”
It was imperative that Miller make the upgrades, Daniels said, as the city was approaching a deadline for the wastewater system to be in compliance with DNR regulations.
“The city of Miller has been non-compliant regarding the permit limits for ammonia levels in our lagoon for years,” she said. “When I took office in 2018, after researching the needs of our community, I quickly realized we were approaching an extension deadline from DNR to become compliant. If we did not act, there was a possibility the city of Miller could be fined up to $10,000 a day until we became compliant.”
In a press release, the DED stated that Miller would contribute “more than $1.2 million in matching funds along with more than $1.2 million in additional state and/or federal funds” for the project.
Daniels was quoted in the press release as crediting the residents of Miller for the city receiving the grant.
“I appreciate the citizens of Miller for doing their part to ensure we were able to move forward in the process of applying for the Community Development Block Grant from the Department of Economic Development,” she said in the press release. “Receiving these funds significantly reduces the amount the city of Miller must borrow to complete our wastewater upgrade project.”
Daniels said completing the upgrades to the city’s wastewater system has been one of her main goals as mayor for the past two years.
“This project has been my priority since taking office in 2018,” she said. “It has been a multi-faceted project and many things needed to be done prior, (including) place and pass the $3.3 million Water/Sewer Bond on the ballot for the April 2019 election; and raise sewer rates to where they need to be so we qualify for a loan and grants.”
The residents of Miller agreed to the rates, Daniels said, when it was explained why they were necessary.
“In February of 2019 we had a town hall meeting to explain to the citizens what this project meant, why it had to happen, and what were the consequences if we did nothing,” she said. “The citizens passed the bond and we have been moving forward since.”
The city of Miller has contracted with TREKK Engineering, which is taking care of the contractor proposals for the project. The city must use the funds by Aug. 27, 2023.

 

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Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712
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