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Edgar board applies for USDA funding

The Edgar Village Board on Monday voted to apply for roughly $5 million in low-interest loans from the USDA Rural Development Water and Waste Grant and Loan Program to finance an upcoming wastewater treatment plant rebuild and sewer collection system upgrades.

The vote followed a presentation by engineer Gary Strand, Cooper Engineering, Rice Lake, who said design of a roughly $4 million Edgar wastewater plant was moving forward as planned, but that the village may want to tackle two additional major projects, replacing 2,000 feet of crumbling concrete pipe on Third Ave. near Oak Street Park and relocating a Thomas Hill Rd. lift station.

The engineer priced the two projects at roughly a million dollars.

Village administrator Jennifer Lopez said the Edgar Village Board is not committed to doing the additional two projects and has another vote to take before they would be officially approved.

Previously, Strand told board members rebuilding the village’s wastewater treatment plant could increase sewer bills by approximately 40 percent. The two extra projects, he said, would increase village sewer bills even more, possibly $20 a quarter.

Lopez said a final costing of the project has not yet been done. She noted that while the village’s sewer project may increase from $4 to $5 million, the USDA loan’s interest rate has dropped a full point to 1.5 percent. Lopez said she hoped to calculate the bottom line of the project for ratepayers yet this week.

Strand told board members the two extra projects were both worthwhile, but it meant taking out a bigger USDA loan.

“The cost is going to go up because we are spending more money,” he said.

Strand said the village had two options in replacing the Third Ave. sewer pipes. A standard “open cut” method would wreck some “beautiful” curb and gutter and harm mature trees near Oak Street Park. A second “pipe bursting” method called for installing polyethylene pipe after cracking open the existing sewer pipe, but without digging up the street.

Board members agreed to finance all of the Edgar sewer plant project except for installing a SCADA computerized wastewater treatment plant control system.