Possible sewer agreement between city and district

Tuesday, February 19, 2008 | 5:59 p.m. CST; updated 11:23 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

COLUMBIA — The city of Columbia has made an offer to the Columbia Public School District regarding payment for sewer lines that will be built to serve the new public high school.

In a letter sent to Superintendent Phyllis Chase by City Manager Bill Watkins last week, the city outlined points to be included in a future agreement with the district.

The letter states that the estimated cost of construction of the sewer is about $1.2 million. The outline suggests the district pay half of the cost up to $600,000. It also suggests that the district donate any sewer easements — the rights to build sewers on its property.

The district would also be responsible to contract and pay for an engineering firm, approved by the city, that would design, provide easement descriptions and survey for the new sewer line. The final design would be approved by the city.

Among the city’s responsibilities would be approval of plans and specifications, acquiring easements and permits, preparing all construction and bid documents, bidding the project and financing the project during construction. The city would also annex the land to be used for the new high school, incorporating it into the domain of the city.

Included in the agreement is a possible tie-in fee which would be levied to those in the area to be served by the new line. It would be above the normal sewer line connection charge. The revenue would be prorated between the city and the district, according to the percentage of final project costs. A specific fee has not yet been established in this preliminary outline.

Watkins said the letter is an outline of points the city would like to put in a future agreement with the district.

“It’s a starting point,” he said.

The points made in the letter are to be reviewed by Chase. Once the district has a chance to look over the agreement and discuss points with the city, the city counselor will draft a final agreement for approval by the school board and the city council.

Assistant Superintendent for Student Support Services Lynn Barnett said the letter has not yet been discussed in staff meetings she has attended.

The district is now reviewing the design of the new building. According to a project timeline, they plan to begin construction on the new high school in February 2009.

There is not a definite timeline mentioned in the letter for finalization of this agreement.

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