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Beloit City Council moving closer to new water plant and source

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The Beloit City Council met on Tuesday evening, April 17. Councilors Lee McMillan and Lloyd Littrell were absent.

The work session of the meeting was comprised of discussion on water treatment plant feasibility studies and the potential formation of a wholesale water district conglomerate between the City of Beloit and Mitchell County Rural Water Districts (RWDs). The city has engaged in an uphill battle for many years to attempt to improve water quality for the citizens of Beloit which has been lacking.

City Engineer Stuart Porter led the council through a summary of the steps taken to date to provide the citizens of Beloit with the highest possible water quality with the limitations of the existing plant and delivery system. The city currently sources water from the Solomon River, treats it, and distributes it. Over the years, many environmental factors have caused the river water to become increasingly difficult to treat to a desirable level. Often falling short of meeting minimum legal requirements. This ultimately led the city to consider the possibility of building a pipeline and sourcing water from Waconda Lake for the city’s supply of water.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment encourages regionalization of services such as city and rural water supplies through how they determine grant and loan awards in the state. This has motivated the city and local RWDs to at least study and consider a joint effort to build a new water treatment plant at Glen Elder. It would exist east of the lake dam to serve RWD customers and the City of Beloit.

Council Andrew Grabon and Porter recently met with representatives of the rural distracts. RWD No. 2 held a meeting in Hunter on Wednesday evening this week to discuss the potential project with their members.

A pair of potential plans have been born of these continuing discussions. City officials and the RWD’s, along with engineers and other experts, have met as a group on at least two occasions. Smaller groups have engaged in discussions as well. The first plan would be to update and expand the current rural water treatment facility at Glen Elder which would improve overall quality. The limitation of that plan is that it is more of a short-term solution for years to come rather than decades.

The second plan would facilitate the building of a new reverse osmosis plant at the lake which would provide water to all parties. The largest benefit of this option would be that of providing the highest quality of water currently available thanks to the most current technology in the field for decades to come.

Porter, at the request of the the council, said he will invite and coordinate a group of industry experts from around the state to come in and assist with a review of the two options under consideration.

During the regular business meeting, continuing water testing for the city was summarized by City Manager Jason Rabe.

He said, “The numbers aren’t perfect, but they are showing progress.”

Preparations are underway to install the new fueling system at Moritz Memorial Airport. Efforts continue to identify any additional issues in terms of the runway for the airport. City crews have commenced work on the Court Street project. Solid progress is being made this week thanks, in part to cooperative weather. The first section of the drainage pipe has been laid Monday, and several more have since been installed. A total of 34 sections of pipe are expected to be required to complete the project.

The Little Red Schoolhouse project is approaching the final stretch. Exterior construction work on the building has been completed as well as landscaping around the building. A handicapped accessible ramp and guardrail have also been installed. Interior work including new drywall for the ceiling has been performed by county workers. Painting of the outside of the building should finish out the exterior portion of the project. Rabe is seeking volunteers with spray guns to complete that aspect.

The new Cemetery Ordinance discussed in the work session of the last council meeting was tabled to allow the cemetery endowment group to review the document.

A proposal for a new police squad car was on the agenda. However, a review of the current police department fleet between Rabe and Chief of Police Dave Elam led to a decision that a new vehicle was not needed based on the condition of the existing vehicles which are in good condition.

In action items, the council approved Ordinance 2227 granting Kettle in downtown Beloit special permission to celebrate their anniversary on Saturday, June 2 by allowing alcohol to be served outside of the premises. As a condition of the agreement, Mill Street between Court and South Street will be cordoned off and impassible for vehicles during the event.
The council also addressed the replacement of a lift station which includes a 40-kilowatt generator and installation costs. The lift station serves the areas of west Beloit, and the existing unit was determined to be on its last legs, so to speak. The total cost of the upgrade was approved at $140,624.

A bid was also accepted by the council for various pipe needs from Municipal Supply in the amount of $52,132.

A new mower for the Parks and Recreation Department totaling $12,899 was accepted from Carrico Implement. Over 130 acres of mowing work is maintained by the department.

Following a comprehensive trial and elimination process for a new city street sweeper, a bid from Red Municipal Equipment in the amount of $220,000 was accepted. Financing will be provided by First National Bank of Beloit at an interest rate of 3.4 percent over a five-year period. Annual payments on the machine will be $48,587.

Costs totaling $15,000 were approved for a total repair of the roof at the Port Library. Since the time of the extensive hail storm which ravaged property throughout Beloit in late August of 2014, the roof has undergone a number of patches and “quick fixes” which were hoped to be more lasting but have proven otherwise.

The council then considered and approved the following appointments to the Fire Department. Aaron LaCoe replaces Blake Miller as the Fire Chief. The First Assistant Chief is Dale Lewis, Second Assistant Chief Eric Clark, Secretary Steve Krier, Treasurer Randy Stroede, First Captain Josh Bell, Second Captain Nathan Lund, First Truck Driver Brett Beck, Second Truck Driver Jeremy Easter, Third Truck Driver Greg Thiessen, First Trustee Alan Mong, and Second Trustee Luke Cashatt.

The Beloit City Council meets regularly on the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Municipal Building in Beloit.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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