City of Centralia City Manager’s View
by Lowell Crow
As we are moving into the second month of the new year and beginning to prepare for the upcoming build season, the city is beginning to work on the new Capital Plan that was approved by the City Council. The goal of the Capital Plan is to lay out work that the city needs to complete in the next five to seven years so that we can plan for funding and resources into the future. The City has recently gone out for bid for the painting of the Rexford water tower painting, and the Greenview lift station rework, as well as one of the new police vehicles. The water tower is being paid out of water and sewer funds and the new police car is being paid with the funds received from DUIs here and at the state level. Additionally, the city is working with the 911 Board to complete the upgrades and modernization of the City’s dispatch center to come into compliance for the new standards for dispatch that will allow the City to answer any calls that are made by cell phones.
Additionally, the bid has already been released and work will begin in March to replace the water main along Hwy. 161 by Crooked Creek Bridge where the previous road construction took place. This summer, work will begin on Gragg Street to replace or resurface sections of that road as well as repair the drainage ditches. The Gragg Street project will utilize Opportunity Zone funds and state and federal funds to provide a better traveling surface. Work will also be taking place on Sara and Frazier, the remaining sections of Calumet around ConAgra, and sections of Pine as well as Sycamore.
Another item that had been approved by the City Council was the development of plans for the new water treatment facility. Our engineering firm, Curry and Associates, while reviewing the current water treatment facility, has recommend to the City Council that we begin the process of planning for a new water treatment facility. Currently the City already owns the land for the new treatment facility which was purchased over 10 years ago. Each year the state provides loans through the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) that are low interest rates for water treatment facilities. For municipalities that have a lower–medium income, such as we have here in Centralia, these loans can be up to 70 percent forgivable. The amount that is available varies from year to year. To tap into this state money, the city must have both the plans as well as the permit process through IEPA completed. The application process for the permits can be from six to twelve months and once those are completed it could be up to eighteen months for the loan process to be completed. Once we have received the loan guarantee from the state, we can go out for bid on the plant and begin work. By having the plans completed we can also complete the permit process and be ready to execute when the loans become available.
Overall, this year, as with most years, will be busy completing infrastructure work and making plans for the future, but most importantly all of these plans will move Centralia forward.