Lawrence city commissioners still want to build a new sewage treatment plant that could cost as much as $88 million, but they want to make sure they'll be spending the money at the right time.
During a study session this morning, commissioners indicated that they would hire a consultant to help compile a new wastewater master plan. The study would outline projects needed during the next five years to meet the city's sewer needs, and how to finance them.
The key component of the study would be plans for a new treatment plant south of town, along the Wakarusa River. Construction of the project had been expected to begin this year, but was delayed because of a slowdown in the city's population growth.
Now - with worries about the overall economy and the slowest pace of residential construction in decades - commissioners acknowledge that getting some new population projections, cost estimates and inflation data for construction projects would be a worthwhile investment.
The study would be expected to last for six months and cost more than $500,000, and talk around the table in the commission meeting room this morning indicated that making the investment now would help guide even more spending in the future - especially when it comes to paying for a massive project that officials concede is inevitable, whether it's by 2012 or sometime later.
"That's so that when you buy it, you don't have buyer's remorse," said David Corliss, city manager.
Commissioners made no final decision this morning about pursuing a study. Instead, they plan to consider the issue as part of a regular business meeting March 11.