Centralia Fireside Guard

Follow Us On:

Sturgeon considering outsourcing water

Posted on Thursday, July 22, 2021 at 6:11 am

The crowd was thin Tuesday night in the Sturgeon City council chambers, six residents and one guest speaker were there for the aldermen’s special session regarding the city’s water system.

Tom Ratermann director of the Boone County Regional Sewer District, was there to address the concerns of a potential Sturgeon landowner, Sturgeon Mayor Mike Butler said.

Ratermann said he was there at Butler’s invitation. “Sturgeon has the option of hiring the sewer district to run its waste water plant.”

The Sturgeon Board of Aldermen has cut the city staff's office hours.

He said the district personnel would be available 24-7 to run the town’s plant.

“Overflows, backups, we can come out to open those on an on-call basis, as well as routine maintenance,” he said.

Mayor Mike Butler said Ratermann was there at Butler’s invitation. “Sturgeon has the option of hiring the sewer district to run its waste water plant.”

He said the district personnel would be available 24-7 to run the town’s plant.

“Overflows, backups, we can come out to open those on an on-call basis, as well as routine maintenance,” he said.

Another benefit they can supply, he said, is a contract with the district would satisfy Missouri Department of Natural Resources requirements. “Tonight I don’t know what that would cost… For the short term, I don’t see any change.”

He said by August he should have a menu of services and costs for the city. “Then we can work up an agreement, until then, call us if you have a problem and we will come up and fix it.”

He suggested the district and Sturgeon try a six-month operations agreement before making any long -term plans.

He also suggested the city consider applying for a controlled discharge permit from the DNR to help keep their wetlands system’s holding cells at the proper level.

Sturgeon’s current permit expires July 2022, he said, saying the district could help Sturgeon negotiate with the DNR.

He said he could have a merger proposal for them by August and his board of trustees wanted to help.

Alderman Ashley Long asked for a cost estimate. Ratermann said he did not know. He said the district contracts with Hartsburg and Rocheport, but did not have those figures with him. He said district personnel visited Hartsburg three times a week.

He said the contract with Hartsburg had an annual, automatic renewal feature. “If somebody wants out, they say so and give us notice.”

In response to a question from Alderman Steve Crosswhite, Ratermann said he thought the arrangement could benefit the city and the district.

Long asked him for the district’s current rates.

The base service fee, he said is $26.65 per month and the usage fee is 7.85 per 1.000 gallons.

He told Long the district’s last rate increase was in 2019.

Butler asked him for an estimate of how many more people Sturgeon’s system could accommodate. “Around 60 lots,” Ratermann said.

Planning and Zoning chair Mike Jacoby asked how the district would accommodate growth on Sturgeon’s part. Ratermann said they would be able to facilitate the non-developer costs, but would handle the public costs, such as treatment, but piping to the development would be, in his opinion, a developer’s cost. That would also include things such as connection fees.

Jacoby said Jesse Bailey is putting in a bid on 20 acres of the Martin family trust, “but he wants to know if the city will provide water and sewer… If the city won’t then he is not interested.”

Jacoby said Bailey planned 40 lots if the city met his request, which includes everything annexed into Sturgeon along with city-supplied water and sewer.

Jacoby estimated Bailey would be building approximately eight houses a year, with a price between $325,000 to $375,000 each.

Long said she “is not in a position to recommend anything until I know what Water District 10 is going to do… We have sewer issues, capacity issues, District 10 issues, on top of what we went through with Sterling Meadows. I am not in a position to recommend annexation at this time.”

Is the city totally against it,” Jacoby asked?

Long said she wanted firm information, “I just don’t have enough information.”

“And his ideas are not very reliable,” Alderman Janet Butler said.

“Does the council feel like entertaining this,” Jacoby asked.

Crosswhite said they did, based on recent information from Ratermann and contracted engineer Gary Cunningham. Without a motion, the aldermen agreed.

In other business, they agreed to advertise for a maintenance superintendent.

“Budget’s one thing, actually money’s something else,” City Clerk Donna Tracey said when asked about the year-end roll budget. “I don’t have the actual numbers yet.”