In the next few months, groups all over Boone County will spend their lunch hours hearing and talking about sewers.
Representatives from the Boone County Regional Sewer District are making the rounds to build support for a $3.85 million bond issue that Boone County voters, including Columbia residents, will be asked to approve in November.
The district’s Yes for Better County Sewers committee will visit with members of various civic clubs and other organizations through October.
“We will talk to anyone who will have us,” said Tom Ratermann, director of the district.
If the bond is approved, the district’s 5,400 customers will see a 4 percent annual increase in their sewer bills in each of the next seven years. By 2011, the cost of sewer service for those customers would rise to $26.26 per month, up from the present rate of $19.19.
Although all Boone County voters will decide the fate of the bond issue, Boone County Northern District Commissioner Skip Elkin emphasized the sewer bills will increase only for those served by the district.
“It’s paid for just by the users,” he said. “It’s important to get that information out.”
The $3.85 million would be added to an existing balance of $1.7 million the district has left over from a similar bond issue voters approved in 1997. The money would be used to connect Sunrise Estates, just east of Columbia, to the city sewer system through a series of new pumping stations. The project would replace two lagoons and a waste-water treatment plant that now serve the neighborhood.
The money would also pay for a new waste-water treatment plant for Prairie Meadows and sewer extensions for the Concorde Estates, El Chaparral and Lake of the Woods subdivisions. The district would also install a sewer line south of Broadway Village — between Hominy Branch and Hinkson Creek — to add capacity to an existing sewer in the area. The projects would be completed over the next seven years.
“These are old, outdated and overused systems,” Elkin said. “We need to get rid of those.”
Elkin noted the current systems are dumping treated waste water into area creeks. He hopes that will encourage environmentally concerned voters to come to the polls.
“This may not affect you directly, but the creeks are running through your town,” Elkin said.
Also in November, Columbia voters will be asked to approve a $18.5 million waste-water management bond issue and $28.3 million water bond issue for the city. Ratermann hopes being on the ballot with city issues will help the district’s cause.
“We chose to go to voters this year because the city is going to the voters,” he said. “We hope to use the city’s momentum; it makes it easier to educate the voters.”
The district, after completing work at Sunrise Estates and the other subdivisions, would have about $200,000 left to address problems with smaller sewer systems in Boone County.