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USDA offers Terrytown relief on water project
January 15, 2016 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis
The Terrytown City Council got some good news at its Jan. 7 meeting – about half the cost of its water renovation project would be paid for by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The proposal, which the USDA will make to the state for funding, includes a $1.6 million loan that will be paid back over a 40-year period at 1.9 percent interest. Grant assistance, which doesn’t have to be repaid, is about $1.25 million from USDA. Another $250,000 grant would come from the Community Development Block Grant program through the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. Overall, the funding breaks down to about $1.6 million in grants and another $1.6 million on low-interest loans.

“We had no idea the USDA would pay for half of the project,” said City Engineer Jeff Wolfe. “This also includes the water metering project that was approved a long time ago.”

In the next few weeks, the city attorney and clerk will fill out the necessary paperwork for submission to the state. If approved, the city will have to sign the loan agreements to secure the funding. The entire process could be completed by March or April of 2016.

Another concern that we’ll have to address in the future is the condition of the city’s water tower. It would cost about $1.2 million to replace, so the USDA recommended the city retain the existing tower to minimize the total cost of the water project.

Built when Terry Carpenter first incorporated the city, it’s still in good structural condition. However, the exterior is covered with lead based paint that could become an environmental issue.

Wolfe told the council the tower’s surface could be sealed with epoxy to minimize any environmental hazards. However, the paint will have to be dealt with at some point in the future, once the tower reaches its life expectancy.

In the short term, the ladder system and scaffolding on the water town will need to be upgraded to meet safety standards.

The overall water project is expected to be completed by 2017 and would replace several water mains and lines in Terrytown and neighboring unincorporated Bellevue. All residences and businesses would also be connected to a water metering system. Connections will need to be established with Gering, as that city has agreed in principle to providing water for Terrytown.

Council members also got a first look at the city one- and six-year street plans. Until completion of the water project, only maintenance is being done on city streets, as many streets will need be torn up for installation of new water lines.

In other action, council members approved a request to spend $8,400 in keno funds to purchase 24 new energy-efficient LED lights for installation along Terrytown’s portion of the tri-cities pathway system. Only about six of the old style lights are still working. Bob Nemnich, director of the Carpenter Center, agreed to have the lights installed at their expense.
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