City commissioners have ordered a "sewer summit" to ensure that planners, developers and everyone fully understand the concerns surrounding the city's sewer system.
"I feel like we have a lot of anger and a lot of confusion in the community right now," said City Commissioner Sue Hack, who asked staff to organize the public meeting within the next three to four weeks.
The request comes after reports of at least one area builder laying off employees because his major building project is not being allowed to move forward because of concerns related to the sewer system in the northwest area of town.
Staff members said they would work to bring in engineers, planners, utility leaders, developers and other interested parties to have an open discussion about sewer concerns and possible fixes. But staff members also defended decisions to stop some developments that are deep in the approval process from receiving permits to start construction.
Assistant City Manager Debbie Van Saun said that in some cases developers who are being stopped from moving forward already have used up the amount of sewer capacity they have paid for in a particular area with previous projects. To allow them to add more homes in some areas would put the system at risk of overflowing.
"The math isn't there to let us continue in good conscience to add capacity in some areas," Van Saun said.
Kasold Drive work to begin about May 1
Motorists should plan for major construction to begin on Kasold Drive around May 1.
City commissioners Tuesday approved a timeline for a project to rebuild Kasold Drive between Bob Billings Parkway and 22nd Street. The project is expected to begin in May and run through September 2007.
Commissioners did stick with their original decision to keep one lane of traffic open in each direction during construction. Commissioners also agreed to create an incentive program that will pay the contractor $2,000 per day, up to $100,000, if the project is completed early. The contractor will be fined $2,000 per day if the project is completed late.
Water plant expansion costs rise by $5 million
An expansion to the city's Clinton Water Treatment Plant is going to cost about $5 million more than expected.
But commissioners were told that the increased cost should not cause water rates to be boosted any more than already planned.
Engineers said the increased costs for the now $15 million project were attributable to increases in construction material prices following Hurricane Katrina and design changes to make the plant better meet future regulations.
Construction of the project is expected to begin in 2007 and last through the spring of 2008.