City OKs finance plan for new WMU water plant

Published 9:28 am Friday, November 24, 2017

During the Winchester Board of Commissioners meeting Tuesday, Winchester Municipal Utilities officials laid out the plan to finance a new $20 million water treatment plant and three other projects, which will be funded using a combination of bonds, a loan and cash.

WMU General Manager Mike Flynn said the new 9 million-gallon-per-day plant will replace the city’s aging facility, which was last updated about 40 years ago.

The contract has not been awarded, but Flynn said the low bid was $19.98 million. Construction would take between two and three years.

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R.J. Palmer with Compass Municipal Advisors said funding for the water plant would use $12 million in municipal bonds, which would be issued by the city, and $8 million in WMU cash.

Palmer said the city could vote to authorize the bonds in December, with the second reading in January. The bonds themselves should be sold by the end of January.

“The past several years we have focused heavily on wastewater,” Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner said. “We are now turning to the water side.”

WMU is looking at three other capital projects in the coming years, which would be part of the EPA consent decree to fix a number of sanitary sewer overflow problems within the city. Flynn said WMU has already spent $80 million to resolve 21 SSOs.

Three other projects would require an $11 million loan from the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority. Those would include $1.4 million for the Hampton Manor project which began this year, $6.6 million for the East Interceptor project which will begin in 2019 and $3 million for improvements to the Strode’s Creek plant and its collection of solids from wastewater treatment in 2020.

The commissioners voted unanimously to accept the presentation and for the project to move ahead.

The commission also noted that Winchester Fire-EMS recently received a $100,000 grant from the Kentucky Fire Commission to go toward construction of a new fire training tower. The city included $575,000 in the fiscal year 2017-18 budget to construct the tower, with the provision any grants received would offset the city’s expenses.

Winchester Fire-EMS Chief Cathy Rigney said she expects construction to begin Monday near Station 3 at the entrance to the industrial park.

“Most of the concrete foundation is done,” she said. “The building parts have been delivered. They hope to begin erection of the building on Monday.”

The building, which includes a four-story tower, a three-story residential section and a one-story burn room, will have a steel frame with metal panels for the floor and exterior. The residential section will have movable interior walls for search training.

Firefighters will also be able to use the tower for rope rescue and rappelling.

Winchester City Manager Matt Belcher said some additional concrete work may be needed, which the grant would cover financially.

Winchester Fire-EMS Battalion Chief Jason Keller, who is spearheading the project, said previously he hoped for a December delivery date, which would allow for construction to be completed in February 2018.

In other action, the commissioners:

— approved the first reading of an ordinance to close Floyd Clay Drive and an unnamed alley near 1107 W. Lexington Ave. at the request of The Greater Clark Foundation.

— approved an engineering proposal from Palmer Engineering for the urban trails project.

— approved a contract for catering for the city employee Christmas breakfast.

— accepted the retirement of City Clerk Marilyn Rowe effective Jan. 1, 2018.

— reclassified Winchester Fire-EMS paramedic Geoffrey Breeden to firefighter II/paramedic.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email or call 859-759-0051.

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