Completion of Constantine wastewater treatment plant delayed

CONSTANTINE — Constantine Village Council members learned there is going to be a delay, due to several reasons, for completion of their new wastewater treatment plant at a Monday, Aug. 1 council meeting.

The village is using USDA/Rural Development financing for the new sewer plant. The USDA announced in in 2020 that they were investing $268 million in 76 projects through a Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program. Constantine received a $13,395,000 40-year loan.

Fleis & VandenBrink regional manager Matt Johnson gave the council an update at the Aug. 1 meeting. Johnson said that the treatment plant project is in a long holding period, as all documents to install the new sewer facility are still being reviewed by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE). Johnson said EGLE has 140 days to review documents.

Johnson told the council that there was some question about easements and property acquisition for the new plant. Nine properties in the immediate area need to be researched.

He also said that supplies, materials, such as steel are also very difficult to get, especially for manufacturers.

When trustees questioned if the project will go over budget, Johnson said that the USDA has a supplemental bond option. The village can either apply for a second bond, or cut costs for the project.

The village currently pumps its effluent to the wastewater treatment facility in Three Rivers.

"Three Rivers needs massive improvements, and will be raising rates. In the long term our new plant is a better option for us. If we need to raise our rates at a later date, the village basically is paying for a new plant," he said.

Johnson said the completion date in 2024 will be pushed back, from spring to fall.

In other council business…

  • The council authorized Honeysett to take bids on demolition of the Clare Hoffman house, which is owned by the village, and located at 270 E. Water Street. Honeysett said in a memo that rehabilitation of the building would require an investment of over $200,000, and probably considerably more to meet ADA standards. The village received $221,000 in American Rescue Plan Acts funds, of which $159,000 is to be used to pay for the village's share of a new fire truck, leaving a balance of $60,000 for other purposes such as the demolition. Hoffman (1875-1967) was a state representative from Michigan's 4th district.
  • The council set a public hearing for 7:03 p.m. on Aug. 15 for comments on an application from Clark Logistics for a 12-year 50 percent tax abatement for a 104,000 square foot addition to the existing building at 950 Industrial Drive. The building addition will create 52 more jobs at the facility within two years of completion.
  • The village adopted a new residential rental ordinance. Mike Hayden, the village code enforcement officer, attended the meeting to answer questions. He stated the ordinance was basically the same, that the intent was to update the language, and the last time anything was changed in the ordinance was in 1979. The new ordinance incudes more frequent inspections, a clearer description of rental units and more well-defined responsibilities for the owner and landlord.
  • The council passed a resolution to vacate the western half of the alley which runs from the 400 block of Green Street to the intersection of the north/south alley that runs from West Fourth to West Fifth Street.

Angie Birdsall is a freelance writer who primarily covers Constantine.

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