|Progress on Bernie|
BERNIE, MO – Residents in Bernie will soon get a much needed new wastewater treatment facility to keep their sewer system running smoothly. Their old oxidation ditch was constructed in the 1970’s and began having significant problems serving the City’s 768 homes and businesses. Cracks could be found in the facility’s structural walls, the controls were worn out, and the bearings on the mixer were on the brink of collapse. These problems were first identified in 2004. In 2009, Mayor Tillmon’s asked Schultz and Summers Engineering (SSE) to evaluate any deficiencies with the system and help identify what funding was needed to replace the plant. SSE owner Bob Summers said, “The problems Bernie’s older system was experiencing are similar to what we have seen in other communities in Missouri. We enjoy designing projects that keep sewer rates low for the residents and keep communities in compliance with all the DNR rules and regulations.”
After a careful review of all the problems with the old treatment plant, SSE put together a design that addressed all the deficiencies. They also developed preliminary designs and cost estimates for the project that were made available to the public. Once the voters looked at the new design and the option to use public financing in order to keep sewer rates low, they passed a $5.0 million dollar bond issue at the November 2009 election with over an 80% approval. Mayor James Tillmon added, “The plan Schultz and Summers developed was a cost effective way to solve our sewer problems. Their help in informing the voters about the new treatment plant was very useful in gaining passage of the bond issue.”
|The new plant under construction|
Once the bond was successfully passed, a Preliminary Engineering Report was submitted by SSE to the Missouri Water and Wastewater Review Committee in January of 2010. Schultz and Summers then worked with USDA-Rural Development to secure over $2.5 million in low interest loan dollars for Bernie. Rural-Development provided the City these loans at a 2.25% interest rate, which was fixed for 35 years. Summers commented, “We have helped several cities in Missouri obtain low interest loans over the years, but it was almost unbelievable for Bernie to receive a fixed 2.25% interest rate for 35 years!”
The project plans were completed in mid-2010 and submitted to both USDA-Rural Development and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The plans were approved in October 2010 and Rural Development approved the bid advertisement that took place in November 2010. The project provided the low bidder with a Notice to Proceed in January 2011 and the new treatment plant should be completed sometime in the fall of the this year.
Mayor Tilmon concluded, “I can’t say enough about how helpful Schultz and Summers Engineering were during this whole process. It was nice having a company help us who understood the process and knew all the key players involved. Their experience was one of the main reasons we were able to pass the bond issue and get so much support from government agencies such as DNR and USDA-Rural Development.”