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Archive for Thursday, February 28, 2008

City commission considering study before moving ahead on sewage plant

February 28, 2008

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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.

Comments

Sigmund 6 years, 1 month ago

chocolateplease (Anonymous) says: "And are they saying that the time horizon for planning is only 5 years? Wouldn't they want to plan for the next 20+ years?"

Yep, just tell us what your needs will be in 20 years, how many people will live here, what the density will be (persons/dwelling), the interest rates, new technologies, future laws on treating sewage, the state of the national economy, and we will predict the future. That is the problem with long term planning, there a million things that make your predictions look foolish, worse you may overbuild for the year 2027 wasting your dollars today. For all you know we will be buried under two feet of ice caused by global warming.

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Sigmund 6 years, 1 month ago

The $19,800,000 City of Lawrence Kansas Water and Sewage System Improvement Revenue Bonds, Series 2007 have already been issued and the City is paying interest on the money.

"The Bonds and the interest thereon are a special obligation of the City payable *SOLELY* from, and secured as to the payment of the principle and interest by a pledge of certain revenues derived from the operation of its water and sewage system."

The City has already borrowed the money and must pay that money back without raising taxes, only raising sewer/water rates. If they had any doubts or questions they should not have pledged our our water bills until 2018.

Here is a thought. Fire the entire City of Lawrence staff, all of them, and replace them with a consultant, or keep the staff and make them come to a decision, we can't afford BOTH.

Oh and Sven, if you agree with this post do not cut and paste under "cool." It is repetitive, redundant and is adding to global warming by forcing us to use more computers, and coal generated electricity by requiring us to ignore merrill's idiotic posts twice when once ought to be enough. Besides it makes you look like a sock puppet.

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cool 6 years, 1 month ago

chocolateplease (Anonymous) says: 500K seems like alot of money for a study, especially on a topic like this. It's not as if we don't already know what our sewer needs are; we just need to project additional needs and plan for projects to address them. And are they saying that the time horizon for planning is only 5 years? Wouldn't they want to plan for the next 20+ years? I wonder if this 500K figure is anywhere in the ballpark of what communities normally spend just to figure out what they need: it sure seems outrageous.

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cool 6 years, 1 month ago

typo forum / i am sorry toefungus i agree -

yes - $500,000 is quite a bit.

at $100 per hour for a full year two full tiime employees of Black & Veatch for a whole year would only be $416,000.00 ?

how can they justify $500,000.00 ?

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cool 6 years, 1 month ago

toefungus (Anonymous) says: The cost of this study is nearly as much as the school board wants in a tax increase. But wait, water is a seperate fund and they can just pass the cost through the water bill. We are all such fools.

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cool 6 years, 1 month ago

Ragingbear (Anonymous) says: Isn't this the same sewage plant proposal that has about 30 different studies on it already?

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cool 6 years, 1 month ago

Jeremy (Anonymous) says: One Half of One Million Dollars for a study. WTF????

The City Manager called for a wage and compensation study for city employees several years ago. The city's goal at the time was for city employees to be paid near or below the median of comparative cities.

Now, Corliss wants another wage and compensation study for city employees that includes pay cuts. They expect above average work product but below average pay.

Corliss, quit spending money unnecessarily so you can insulate yourself and assign blame of failure on the company/person who did the sudy and not yourself!

No wonder the city is so screwed up. It starts at the top!

enough is enough!!!!

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cool 6 years, 1 month ago

merrill (Anonymous) says: Following the construction of the $88 million sewage treatment plant,which in and of itself increases the cost of community services, the following will add still more to cost of of community services. The following will take place once the new sewage treatment is built all at the behest of pressure from the Chamber of Commerce: water and sewer lines streets and repairs houses public schools fire stations law enforcement manpower sidewalks snow removal bike trails and cross walks Traffic signals Traffic calming developers requesting more tax dollar assistance(new infrastructure) for their warehouses and retail strip malls. *In general increases the cost of community services to all taxpayers.

====================== I say screw the half a million dollar study and spend the $88 million on investing in exisiting infrastructure instead of allowing it to go hell due to negligence.

*Repair streets and sidewalks in: Downtown Old west Lawrence Old East Lawrence Barker Brookcreek North Lawrence Oread

*Build a $17.5 million dollar library across the street from the New Hampshire parking garage(saves 10 million) and make use of a failed TIF project aka parking garage

*Convert the existing library building into a small town convention center which could save millions upon millions and protect taxpayers from another TIF battle. When library shelves and office space is removed there is a huge space. Lawrence does not need an extravagant new convention building. Clean it up,do some remodel and rewire then landscape,landscape,landscape: we're set to go. Two large meeting spaces(one downstairs) and two existing smaller places in the current space. New landscaping around this structure would do wonders.

*Provide development funding for a economic growth team in city hall. Reduce the Chamber influence. There is more transparency in City hall.

*Build the east Lawrence hike and bike trail

*Develop an exciting public transporation system accompanied with an appropriate maintenance facility. Busing will be important to visitors.

Investing in existing infrastructure pays back and is good for business. This will pay back far quicker whereas the sewage treatment plant and all that will follow may never pay back.

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cool 6 years, 1 month ago

somebodynew (Anonymous) says: OK, this is TOTAL bs. The city has a planing staff that is supposed to be able to do this kind of "stuff". Why exactly do we need "consultants" for BIG buck every time a project comes up??? And this is not even a new project !!!! Can't someone at City Hall be bright enough to just adjust the figures they already have???

I just think I figured out my retirement job - move 50 miles away from Lawrence and call myself an "expert" or a "consultant" and I can get rich off the city.

What a bunch of (deleted words). And I had hopes for this commission (NOT for Corless- he needs to go).

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Groanmaggot 6 years, 1 month ago

Lets call the Reagan Sewage Treatment plant.

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LogicMan 6 years, 1 month ago

Report's conclusion:

Build it, but slowly.

I'll take $50K for my troubles, and you save $450K.

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cool 6 years, 1 month ago

who owns most of the land where the new sewer district is planned ?

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cool 6 years, 1 month ago

will there be a large TIF district witin the area of the new sewer service ? like www.oreadinn.com

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cool 6 years, 1 month ago

MANY TOWNS TURN TO COMPOSTING SEWAGE TREATMENT By JOE RANKIN, Staff Writer Copyright © 2003 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.

VVILTON Russ Mathers has no problem getting rid of the waste from his town's sewage treatment plant. He says folks come from as far as Lewiston and Readfield to scoop it up. What they are filling up with is compost a rich, crumbly black organic soil-like material with no odor-that people are using in their gardens, flower beds and around trees. ow, more Maine towns are finding composting at least a partial answer to the always problematic question of what to do with their sewage sludge -the gloppy, wet material left over after the raw waste is treated.

The number of towns turning to composting is growing as municipalities look to avoid resident opposition to spreading of wet sludge an the amount of farmland available to spread it continues to shrink.

The number of farms licensed for spreading wet sludge has dropped from about 240 in 1990 to 200, said David Wright, who formerly headed the state Department of Environmental Protection's residuals program and now works in the Air Bureau.

Farmers like the wet sludge, which is stabilized with lime, better than compost because it has a higher nitrogen content, according to said.

"The advantage of the compost is you get a better pathogen kill," he said. "And when you do it right, you don't have an odorous product."

Because of that, there no limitations on its use. Gardeners can use it to side dress beets or broccoli, nurture marigolds and zinnias, mulch apple and pear trees, or scatter it on lawns or pastures. "(Composting) worked quite well. It took a little bit of experimenting," Dickey said. "Our first pile failed to take off and we had to take it apart and start over. And we had to refine the recipe."

Dickey said he is now mixing the sludge with kiln-dried sawdust in a 1:2 ratio. The sawdust costs $20 a cord. Wilton uses wood shavings, which cost that town $7 a yard.

Both towns are using a system called an "aerated static pile" in which oxygen, needed by the bacteria that handle the actual work of decomposition, is forced into the pile through perforated PVC pipes hooked up to blowers. Compost is a much more pleasing thing for people to work with," said Wilton's Mathers, who has had people from some two dozen countries, including Scotland, Russia and France, tour his composting facility.

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somebodynew 6 years, 1 month ago

OK, this is TOTAL bs. The city has a planing staff that is supposed to be able to do this kind of "stuff". Why exactly do we need "consultants" for BIG buck every time a project comes up??? And this is not even a new project !!!! Can't someone at City Hall be bright enough to just adjust the figures they already have???

I just think I figured out my retirement job - move 50 miles away from Lawrence and call myself an "expert" or a "consultant" and I can get rich off the city.

What a bunch of (deleted words). And I had hopes for this commission (NOT for Corless- he needs to go).

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Jeremy 6 years, 1 month ago

One Half of One Million Dollars for a study. WTF????

The City Manager called for a wage and compensation study for city employees several years ago. The city's goal at the time was for city employees to be paid near or below the median of comparative cities.

Now, Corliss wants another wage and compensation study for city employees that includes pay cuts. They expect above average work product but below average pay.

Corliss, quit spending money unnecessarily so you can insulate yourself and assign blame of failure on the company/person who did the sudy and not yourself!

No wonder the city is so screwed up. It starts at the top!

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!!

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hipper_than_hip 6 years, 1 month ago

Check your math cool. $200/hr x 2080 hrs/yr = $416,000.

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hawkperchedatriverfront 6 years, 1 month ago

They have no conscience, the commission. Another study, They are going to consider a sewage plant study, consider a disorderly business ordinance, consider a sales tax ballot initiative, consider, parking fees at night downtown, consider ways to cut spending, consider the feasibilty of being involved in Farmland, consider saving older neighborhods(which won't happen because they are being pimped out as prostitutes for the city to get federal money to run Neighborhood Resources, consider supporting Amtrak to Dallas, consider ways to improve tourism, would they just announce that they are done considering,It is time to pick something and do it without a study. Correctly and justly so, if the staff cannot do what needs to be done, then it is time to layoff the staff responsible. They are inept. Oh, and consider affordable housing, and consider housing homeless, consider street improvements, consider how many times to go to the bathroom during a city commission meeting. Why don't these knuckleheads admit that they don';t know what they are doing now or later.

Please, city commissioners. dig up some projects that were considered several years ago and tell us what has happened to those that were considered. How can you do this to yourselves? This is not the smartest city.

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cool 6 years, 1 month ago

toefungus i agree -

yes - $500,000 is quite a bit.

at $200 per hour for a full year one employee of Black & Veatch would only be $40,000.00 ?

how can they justify $500,000.00 ?

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Richard Heckler 6 years, 1 month ago

Following the construction of the $88 million sewage treatment plant,which in and of itself increases the cost of community services, the following will add still more to cost of of community services. The following will take place once the new sewage treatment is built all at the behest of pressure from the Chamber of Commerce: water and sewer lines streets and repairs houses public schools fire stations law enforcement manpower sidewalks snow removal bike trails and cross walks Traffic signals Traffic calming developers requesting more tax dollar assistance(new infrastructure) for their warehouses and retail strip malls. *In general increases the cost of community services to all taxpayers.

====================== I say screw the half a million dollar study and spend the $88 million on investing in exisiting infrastructure instead of allowing it to go hell due to negligence.

*Repair streets and sidewalks in: Downtown Old west Lawrence Old East Lawrence Barker Brookcreek North Lawrence Oread

*Build a $17.5 million dollar library across the street from the New Hampshire parking garage(saves 10 million) and make use of a failed TIF project aka parking garage

*Convert the existing library building into a small town convention center which could save millions upon millions and protect taxpayers from another TIF battle. When library shelves and office space is removed there is a huge space. Lawrence does not need an extravagant new convention building. Clean it up,do some remodel and rewire then landscape,landscape,landscape... we're set to go. Two large meeting spaces(one downstairs) and two existing smaller places in the current space. New landscaping around this structure would do wonders.

*Provide development funding for a economic growth team in city hall. Reduce the Chamber influence. There is more transparency in City hall.

*Build the east Lawrence hike and bike trail

*Develop an exciting public transporation system accompanied with an appropriate maintenance facility. Busing will be important to visitors.

Investing in existing infrastructure pays back and is good for business. This will pay back far quicker whereas the sewage treatment plant and all that will follow may never pay back.

0

chocolateplease 6 years, 1 month ago

500K seems like alot of money for a study, especially on a topic like this. It's not as if we don't already know what our sewer needs are; we just need to project additional needs and plan for projects to address them. And are they saying that the time horizon for planning is only 5 years? Wouldn't they want to plan for the next 20+ years? I wonder if this 500K figure is anywhere in the ballpark of what communities normally spend just to figure out what they need... it sure seems outrageous. Maybe the reporter goofed.

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toefungus 6 years, 1 month ago

The cost of this study is nearly as much as the school board wants in a tax increase. But wait, water is a seperate fund and they can just pass the cost through the water bill. We are all such fools.

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funkdog1 6 years, 1 month ago

Before being elected, Mike Dever told me to my face that one of the biggest mistakes of the commission before him was that they had, QUOTE: "Wasted too much of the city's money on studies." He assured me that HE would trust city staff to be able to provide this kind of data. Guess things are different when you're the one sitting on the commission.

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Paul R Getto 6 years, 1 month ago

Sigh; everyone wants to poop; no one likes paying for it. I do agree, however, another study is probably not needed.

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cool 6 years, 1 month ago

BINGO

but Black & Veatch needs more money !

Ragingbear (Anonymous) says: Isn't this the same sewage plant proposal that has about 30 different studies on it already?

maybe there should be another and larger TIF district ? www.oreadinn.com

>
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Ragingbear 6 years, 1 month ago

Isn't this the same sewage plant proposal that has about 30 different studies on it already?

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Keith 6 years, 1 month ago

Why do we even need any of the planning departments when every major decision requires outside consultants. Just fire them all and hire the consultants as part-timers as needed.

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consumer1 6 years, 1 month ago

NO doubt the city will "SPEND OUR MONEY" on an OUT of Town consultant to conduct the study, and then wonder why the citizens of Lawrence shop out of town.... Lead by example.

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