Lyle water tower project on track

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 4, 1999

LYLE – The Lyle water tower project is "on track and on target.

Thursday, November 04, 1999

LYLE – The Lyle water tower project is "on track and on target."

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That’s what Diana Deboer, city clerk and treasurer, is prepared to report to the Lyle City Council and Mayor Ron Frank.

According to Deboer, residents could see a new water tower in Lyle City Park as early as October 2000.

Deboer said the Lyle project was aided by city officials’ decision to submit its proposal to be placed on the Project Priority List and the Intended Use Plan at the same time.

When the PPL came out in mid-July, Lyle’s project was ranked 114 among 258 projects seeking Drinking Water Revolving Fund monies. "Lyle received 11 points with other cities ranking from 35 to five points," she said.

Just last week, the city received better news. The draft list of Intended Use Plan projects in Minnesota identifies projects expected to be funded now through September 2000.

"Lyle’s project is in the fundable range," she said.

Lyle made that fundable project list, because of its population and the community’s median household income.

"We’re excited," said Deboer.

Two years ago, city officials and Deboer began discussing constructing a new 100,000 gallon, 120-foot elevated water storage tower in pedestal style.

The new tower is intended to replace an antiquated 55,000 gallon water storage tower constructed in 1897.

"This will enable the city to have more than a one-day storage of water, which is recommended by the Minnesota Department of Health, to address current life safety codes and the structural integrity of the over 100-year-old tower," she said.

The city failed in an attempt to obtain funds from the Minnesota Department of Trade and Economic Development, but pushed forward to seek Drinking Water Revolving Fund monies in the amount of $367,000.

According to Deboer, this will enable the city to finance the project with a low-interest loan. The Drinking Water Revolving Fund was specifically created to provide communities with below-market rate loans for upgrading and constructing public drinking water systems.

The city’s request for a loan first had to clear the Project Priority List hurdle and did that by ranking in the top half of the projects.

Then, the project cleared another hurdle when it was placed on the Intended Use Plan’s fundable project list.

The city filed its dual application last May.

Now, the city is waiting for approval of submitted plans and specifications, prepared by the city’s engineering firm, W.H.K.S, Inc. of Rochester and project engineer Bill Angerman.

A September public hearing on the project called by Mayor Frank and the council members resulted in no objections and that was still another endorsement for the project.

"We expect to hear from the Minnesota Department of Health within the next couple of weeks," Deboer said. "When we do we will have six months to return the form to the Minnesota Public facilities Authority and receive the Department of Health’s approval for the plans and specs."

"The mayor and council will review the status of the project at next week’s regular council meeting, but right now I can tell you we’re all excited about this," Deboer said.

Funding is expected in January 2000 and if it were made today, the loan would call for a 5.16 percent interest rate, but Deboer expects other discounts to drop the rate even lower to the 3.5-4 percent range.

City officials have also approved the location of the new tower and that will be north of the present tower and near the horseshoe pits and tennis courts in Lyle City Park. Soil borings have confirmed the location as an acceptable site.

Deboer expects the city to be ready to approve bid specifications and seek bids sometime after its December city council meeting.

"We could break ground as early as April 2000 and the project would be scheduled for completion, if everything goes all right, by October next year," she said.

But, what else makes Deboer and others in Lyle excited about the water tower project? Answer: the best news possible for citizens.

The 20-year loan Lyle expects to receive will be repaid from user fees, which – drum roll, please, "will not go up and will remain the same," said Deboer.