Sugar City sign

(Photo courtesy Sugar City City Hall)

Forsgren and Associates Engineer Kevin Harris met with the Sugar City Council on Thursday to discuss a $300,000 Army  Corps of Engineers grant. The money will help cover the cost of some equipment that was previously deemed too expensive. 

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The Army Corps of Engineers recently awarded Sugar City a $300,000 grant allowing it to purchase equipment for its ongoing water project. Earlier this year, the items were removed from the construction list because of the cost.

The 1999 Water Resources Development Act allows for the corps to provide the grant funds, said Forsgren and Associates Engineer Kevin Harris who met with the city council on Thursday.

“The Army Corps of Engineers essentially takes a little bit for their review process. There is a match. Those matching funds the city has already provided (by) kicking in $75,000,” he said.

Harris reported that the corps’ money will purchase radio-tracing water meters for $94,000 while an additional $72,000 will cover the cost of the well pump, the Variable Frequency Drive and control. The grant will provide $105,000 for a backup power generator. An additional $25,000 will cover engineering fees while another $25,000 will pay the corps’ administration costs.

Harris also noted a decrease in costs for the pump station where various change orders declined in cost by 3.5% or $33,029.78.

About 10% of the project remains to be completed, he said.

“I’ve been working with contractors to finish up. The main issue (we’ve) been working on is to disinfect all the piping in the well house,” Harris said.

Last week contractors worked inside the water tank power washing, disinfecting and getting it ready for service, he said. Harris also reported that contractors provide him with a weekly update on their work.

The Department of Environmental Quality ordered the city’s water system upgrade after noting deficits in fire protection service and concerns that, if the city’s main well went out, there might not be enough water to fight a fire. DEQ also expressed concern that the city had enough water to handle what’s expected to be more growth in the coming years.

Sugar City residents approved a $3.7 million special revenue bond that voters narrowly approved in November 2017 with 249 votes for and 229 votes against. Fast-forward to February 2018, and DEQ agreed to loan the city the money. The city planned to pay the rest of the cost from its savings.

To also help cover the bond cost, the city voted to raise residents’ water rates by $11. Currently, residents pay around $54 a month in water bills. They will eventually see their bills increase to an estimated $65 a month to help cover the cost of the city’s water renovations.

The city council meets at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, August 12, at city hall. Residents may attend in person or can log on to the city’s ZOOM feed and view the meeting on Facebook from home.

For more information call the city at 208-356-7561.