Bainbridge-- A plan in the works for 11 years in Bainbridge might be on the fast track to completion. A master plan to extend the sanitary sewer system to everyone in the city started in 1997.
At the current pace, it won't be completed for another 18 years. Now the city the council has to make a choice: finish the project in four years, or stay debt-free.
It's probably not something you spend much time worrying about. But for many homeowners in one section of Bainbridge, it's a continuing dilemma, says city manager Chris Hobby. "We already get numerous inquiries from people that are on septic tanks now, that are having problems, drain-filled issues et cetera that want sanitary sewer."
They city's been working to provide sanitary sewer service to everyone inside the city limits. The lengthy process isn't just hurting those without, its hurting city growth, too. "The property that's in the city limits right now that's vacant is largely not developable because sanitary sewer is not available," says Hobby. By request of the city council, he came up with a plan, to get the project done in 4 years, and 4 major projects. "The plan is to issue bonds for 16.1 million dollars worth of debt that the city would then pay off with the revenue that's generated by the water and sewer service," says Hobby.
The four year plan would not only extend the city's sewer system. $2 million would go to making some much needed improvements at the city's water treatment plant. Hobby says, "We're going to go in and make some upgrades to some equipment that we think will make the plant operate more efficiently, bring down our utility costs."
Besides obtaining debt, doing large construction projects in existing neighborhoods is an obstacle. "That's always problematic because we're digging up roads, and right of ways. You're out in folks, what they consider to be their front yards even though you're still in the city's right of way," says Hobby. But he adds, when its all completed, it will be well worth it.
Hobby expects the city council to make a final decision about going forward with the plan in the next several weeks.