Oolitic Town Council discuss water improvement projects, and potential funding

OOLITIC – Members of the Oolitic Town Council were presented Monday evening with the results of a study by Commonwealth Engineers, which identified 11 recommended improvements throughout the town water infrastructure, totaling nearly $7.7 million if all were completed.

The different projects were listed in order of priority.

  • Area 9 (highest priority) – Upgrade Ex. 1.5″ galvanized/lead water main to 4″ (Walnut Street). Individual cost of project- $835,765
  • Area 1 (second highest priority) – Upgrade Ex. 6″ lead water main to 8″ (7th Street to 11th St.) Individual cost of project – $1,351,742
  • Area 6 (third highest priority) – Replace Ex. 4″ galvanized water main, upgrade Ex. 4″ galvanized water main to 8″, new 4″ water main (10th St, 11th St.) Individual project cost – $1,688,659
  • Area 8 (fourth highest priority) – Upgrade Ex. 2″ water mains to 4″, replace galvanized services on 6″ water main, retire Ex. 2″ water main (alley between Meadow Drive and Nikirk Lane, alley between Nikirk Lane and Oolitic Lane). Individual project cost – $779,275

Beyond fourth highest priority, remaining projects are in no particular order

  • Area 2 – Upgrade Ex. unknown pipe size to 8″ (Main St. to 7th St. within alley). Individual project cost – $1,242,556
  • Area 3 – Upgrade Ex. unknown pipe size water main to 6″ and loop to Main St. (along Lafayette Ave.) Individual project cost – $460,754
  • Area 4 – Install new 6″ water main (Hoosier Ave. to Main St.) Individual project cost – $315,532
  • Area 5 – Upgrade Ex. 1″ water main to 4″ (6th St.) Individual project cost – $165,830
  • Area 7 – Upgrade Ex. unknown pipe size galvanized water main to 4″ (Walsh Ave.) Individual project cost – $226,919
  • Replacement of hydrants. Individual project cost – $435,820
  • Replacement of valves. Individual project cost – $160,600

Drew Flamion, of Commonwealth Engineers, spoke to the council about the study, advising them they could potentially tackle the list one item at a time, as the cost would be too high to complete all at once.

According to Flamion, the town could potentially secure grant money from the Office of Community and Rural Affairs or low interest rate loans to complete some of the higher priority projects. The lenders for the loans would be the State Revolving Loan Fund (RSF) or USDA Rural Development.

Flamion recommended the town look into pursuing a 40-year loan through Rural Development, as they offer lower rates based on the median income of the area.

They currently use 2010 census data, but will switch to the most recent 2020 census data in October.

He said it would be important for the town to apply before the change, because the median household income in Oolitic increased by nearly $20,000, from $38,000 to $57,000 from the 2010 to 2020 census. With the earlier data, the town would be able to obtain an interest rate as low as 1.75% on their loan.

No action was taken regarding these projects at Monday’s council meeting. Before taking the next step, the council will obtain a quote to have an environmental review completed, which is a requirement for the application.