The replacement of more than 1,200 feet of 24-inch sewer line near Crowder College won’t cost city residents any extra on their monthly bills, according to engineers.


The replacement of more than 1,200 feet of 24-inch sewer line near Crowder College won’t cost city residents any extra on their monthly bills, according to engineers.

On Tuesday, the Neosho City Council approved change orders to wastewater system improvements covered by a voter-approved $8.5 million state loan. Two of the change orders both added and deleted sewer pipes, manholes and other sewer project work for a combined net increase of $9,113.55.

The last, and much bigger, change order was for the replacement of 1,225 feet of a World War II-era sewer line that collapsed last fall along Radio Road, west of Howard Bush Drive and connected to the Crowder wastewater treatment plant. The city utilized a temporary fix by replacing about 60 feet of the pipe, enough to stabilize the line for awhile, according to public works director Mike Hightower

Replacing 1,225 feet of the 24-inch diameter line will come with a price tag of $136,850. However, that cost, as well as that of the other change orders, can be absorbed into the $8.5 million the city has already borrowed at low interest from the State Revolving Fund Loan for the nearly finished wastewater system project, according to Michael Zimmerman, project engineer with HDR Archer.

“We’re very fortunate that the wastewater project has come in under budget and we have money in the budget to consider something like this,” Zimmerman said at a public hearing during Tuesday’s meeting.

He said replacing the sewer line would have “zero effect” on current sewer rates, which have already been adjusted based on the borrowed $8.5 million.

Scott Fleming, also an engineer with HDR Archer, said Springfield-based Rosetta Construction, the contractor on the wastewater system upgrade, has agreed to piggyback the Crowder sewer line replacement onto the entire project at the same bid price for materials and labor.

“So the city is getting the ability to make this kind of change without having to go through the cost of a bid process,” Fleming said. “The city is getting a very fair price.”

No one else spoke at the public hearing.

Also on Tuesday, the council:

• Voted, 5-0, on first reading, to amend this fiscal year budget to appropriate $780,643 into the Fire Department SAFER grant fund to reflect the award of the federal grant for the rehiring of nine firemen for a period of two years (see full story in Tuesday, Feb. 8 edition of the Neosho Daily News.)

• Heard a report from Ronda Headland, Missouri Department of Conservation, on the news that Neosho has been chosen as a pilot city in Southwest Missouri to apply a conservation grant for habitat improvement (see story in the Monday, Feb. 14 edition of the Neosho Daily News). Native trees, grasses and wildflowers will be planted along a wide strip along Hickory Creek in Morse Park at no cost to the city. Full implementation will take two to three years, Headland said. The MDC is looking for community partners in the project, she said. For more information call Headland at 866-1127 ext. 150.

• Voted, 3-0 , councilwoman Heather Bowers being absent at that point in the meeting and councilman David Ruth abstaining, on final reading, to amend this fiscal year’s budget to appropriate proceeds of the sale of Rec Center to the Neosho R-5 School District for $375,000. Of that, $150,000 had already been budgeted from the expected sale of the property, which city officials said was in a bad state of disrepair and that the price of fixing it were beyond the city’s limited means. During the visitors’ business of the meeting, city resident and candidate for council Doug Skaggs complained of the sale, asserting that some means could have been found to cover the estimated $100,000-plus cost of repairing the building. Now the city’s young people have nowhere to go, Skaggs said, and he guessed that at some point in the future the city will want to build another recreation center like the one that was sold.

“The city got the gold mine and the youth of Neosho got the shaft,” Skaggs said, paraphrasing an old country song.

• Voted, 3-0, councilwoman Heather Bowers being absent at that point in the meeting and councilman David Ruth abstaining, on final reading, to amend this fiscal year budget to appropriate donation revenue in the amount of the $2,499.96 to the General Fund Police Department budget and in the amount of $2,499.97 to the Fire Sales Tax Fund budget.

• Voted, 5-0, amending the Electric Service Agreement with Empire District Electric Company to install one light at 1700 N. Wall at the new Sewer Peak Basin facility.

• Announced vacancies that exist on the Airport Industrial Development Board (financial institution representative needed), the Board of Appeals, the Board of Appeals – dangerous buildings, and the Park and Recreation Board.

• Announced ProLube Maintenance Repair Center, LLC as the March employer of the month.