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Brownton’s proposed $8.4 million project outlined at public hearing

Approximately 50 people attended the city of Brownton’s public hearing Aug. 15 on its proposed $8.4 million utility and street improvement project.
John Rodeberg, an engineer with Short Elliott Hendrickson, Inc. (SEH), the city’s engineering firm, noted that while many are concerned about assessments for the project, this hearing was to explain the needs driving the project. He did, however, add that the assessment policy would be explained during the hearing as the funding sources were outlined.
The preliminary assessment roll has been made public, but the final assessments will be determined once the bids are awarded, said Rodeberg, and an assessment hearing will be held in late winter, probably in February.
“We can go down from where we are tonight, but we can’t go any higher,” said Rodeberg of the assessments. He added that the city is hoping that bids come in lower than the engineer’s estimated costs for the project.
Rodeberg said the city began planning the project in late 2013 and early 2014, mainly to address collapsing storm sewers, inflow and infiltration (I&I) of storm water into the sanitary sewer system, water main capacity and street surface repairs.
He said the city did a smaller project in 2000 and 2001, and had planned to do more, but the recession put a halt to plans.
“There really has been nothing more done since then,” said Rodeberg.
Rodeberg said that both the storm and sanitary systems have “lots of clay tile” and tree roots have broken pipes and tile, causing storm water to infiltrate the sanitary sewer system. That, in turn, has overloaded the sanitary sewer system.
“The city sometimes has to pump sewage out of the system to alleviate the problem,” said Rodeberg. The overloaded system also can cause sewage to back up into basements.
For more from the public hearing, see the Aug. 23 print edition of The Chronicle.