Exeter water project delayed by changes in Missouri laws

Friday, January 5, 2007

Recent changes in state easement acquisition laws have forced water project engineers to rewrite plans for the Exeter water improvement project, said Richard McMillan, of White River Engineering, Inc.

"The new easement acquisition laws have forced us to rewrite all of the acquisition plans, which are now being reviewed by Exeter's attorney and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)," said Richard McMillan, of White River Engineering, of Springfield.

The improvement project was also delayed while the city acquired property for its new 200,000-gallon water tank, which will be located at the end of Walker Street on the southeast corner of the Exeter R-VI School District property, said McMillan.

"We are currently finalizing the plans and hope to present them for approval at a board meeting in the very near future," said McMillan. "We also have to submit the final plans to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR)."

After the plans have been approved by the city, DNR and USDA, Exeter will begin acquiring easements on private city lots for the improvement project, said McMillan. Engineers have identified over 50 easements that must be acquired to complete the project.

When all easements have been acquired, the city will let out bids on the $1,695,580 city drinking water system improvement project. McMillan expects bids to go out in late winter or early spring.

The project will be financed by low-interest loans and grants from USDA-Rural Development and the Community Development Block Grant program.

The $950,000 bond issue, which was passed by Exeter voters in April of 2005, will serve as collateral for the low-interest loans.

Water system improvement plans call for repainting the interior and exterior of the existing water tank, replacing existing water meters and adding 41 new fire hydrants to the water system. The project will also replace all old fire hydrants within the city.

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