Bloomington Seeks $4.5 Million Grant For Sewer Project | WGLT

Bloomington Seeks $4.5 Million Grant For Sewer Project

Jun 21, 2020

Bloomington city officials hope a state grant will allow the city to start sooner on the next phase of a major infrastructure project.

The city council is set to vote Monday night on a request to apply for a Rebuild Illinois grant worth $4.5 million to cover much of the cost of Phase 2 of the Locust-Colton CSO elimination project, a nine-phase plan to separate sewer and stormwater lines and replace water mains in the east-central part of the city.

The virtual meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. It will include a public hearing on the grant request.

“We are going to be doing the project one way or the other, it’s just a matter of whether we can get the rebuild money, which is a tremendous opportunity for the city,” said Public Works Director Kevin Kothe.

The city would have to provide a $170,000 local match.

Kothe the grant could mean getting this phase of the project underway before winter.

Phase 2 includes several blocks south of the Bloomington Country Club in an area from Washington to Jackson streets and from Vale Street to Mercer Avenue.

Kothe said if the state denies the request, he thinks the city will secure a federal Environmental Protection Agency loan to pay for the project even though the federal government denied the request last year.

“We’re farther up in the queue now because we (were) in there last year, so we are hopeful we would get the loan this year,” he said, estimating it will take until 2030 for all nine phases to be completed.

Fines delayed

The council also will consider a request to extend the moratorium on all interest, fines and penalties for city utility payments, food and beverage taxes, parking tickets and ordinance violations for 90 days after the region enters Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan. All four regions of Illinois are on target to reach Phase 4 on June 26.

Initially, the city set a 30-day grace period to take effect at the conclusion of Gov. JB Pritzker’s emergency declaration, but staff recommends the city correlate its timeline with Phase 4 “as the proclamations could continue well into 2021,” according to a staff memo to aldermen.

According to the Restore Illinois plan, the state won’t move to Phase 5 until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine or effective treatment.

Other business

The city council also is expected to:

  • Approve an annual software maintenance agreement with Munis enterprise resource planning for $198,000.
  • Renew an annual agreement with the McLean County Regional Planning Commission for $54,000.
  • Approve an intergovernmental agreement to pay $108,000 from 2020 to 2023 to help fund household hazardous waste collection events in the fall of 2021 and the fall of 2023.
  • Approve the Ecology Action Center seeking a feasibility study on a establishing a permanent household hazardous waste collection site.
  • Approve a new labor contract with public works employees in Machinists Lodge 1000. The three-year contract would be retroactive to May 1 and would include pay raises of 2.5% in the first year, 3% in the second year and 2.5% in the third year. The contract ends accumulation of sick leave buy-back accruals after April 30, 2021. Employees would need to leave before that date to still receive the accelerated payments and they must provide notice by July 31 of their plans to resign or retire.

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