The Avenues Piped Water and Sewer Project is officially underway. On Aug. 13, Bethel City Council approved the bond sale of $8 million for the project. Combined with a $5 million dollar federal grant, that money will be spent on adding piped water and sewer to the Avenues, which comprises around 112 homes behind AC.
City Grant Manager John Sargent has been working on this plan for a while. Now with the financing approved, Sargent says that things could move quickly.
“Our plan is to get all the pre-engineering stuff done, the engineering design done in a year. And then construct in one year,” Sargent said. According to Sargent, the whole project should be finished in two to three years.
Of the $13 million total cost for the Avenues project, $5 million is coming from a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Acting City Manager Bill Howell said the council's decision to move the project forward was timely.
“We’ve been advised that due to the federal budget cuts, we won’t be seeing this level of grant funding in the future,” Howell said.
The remaining $8 million will come from the city’s pockets, but Sargent says that the project would pay for itself by saving the city $1.6 million per year in hauled water and sewer to those homes.
“Seven or eight years, the break even is,” Sargent said. “That’s very good.”
Sargent called the Avenues project “low-hanging fruit.” The pipes are close to the City Subdivision water plant, and it allows the city to extend them further. Looking past this project, he said that the city also has a preliminary engineering plan to revamp the water and sewer system in Bethel Heights.
Correction: A previous version of this story said that Bethel City Council would vote to approve the bond sale at its next meeting. The bond sale was approved at the last council meeting on Aug. 13, 2019.