River intake still not working

Several aldermen agreed on Monday that it might be time for the city of Vandalia to look for someone new in trying to resolve its ongoing problems with the new Kaskaskia River intake.

But when it came time to take action, none of those agreeing with Aldermen Chad Feldpouch were willing to give their support.

During committee reports, Alderman Larry Cable, chairman of the councils water and disposal plants committee, said the river intake had been inoperable because of sand being carried into it.

Not much was said at that point, but near the close of Mondays meeting, Feldpouch said it was time to take some action.

This is terrible, he said in making a motion to bring in another engineering firm to look at the situation. Weve hardly got any use out of it.

HMG Engineers of Carlyle, the citys consulting engineers, has been in charge of the project. Theyve had the chance to fix it two or three times, and its not been fixed, Feldpouch said.

The new intake was constructed in 2003, and it was moved to the other side of the river last year, after ongoing problems with keeping it clear of debris and sand.

I think its been long enough, Feldpouch said, adding that city officials have been given one reason after another about why the intake was not operable.

Things happen all of the time in that river, he said. All of these things should have been taken into consideration.

Feldpouch said the city has already put about half a million dollars into the intake project, and has gotten little use from the intake.

Due to the ongoing problems, the city has had to rely on Vandalia Lake to serve its residents, businesses and industries. And the quality of that water is not as good, Feldpouch said.

Alderman Bret Brosman agreed that there have been a series of problems that have kept the city from using the intake.

Brosman said he would support bringing in another engineering firm, but felt that it might be better to wait for better weather.

Cable also conceded that the city might want to get another opinion, but I would like to wait two months before doing that.

On Tuesday, Gottman said he agrees with Feldpouch about getting someone else involved.

I feel that we owe it to the taxpayers to get something done, Gottman said. I think its time that we have another set of eyes look this over.

Feldpouchs motion to hire another engineering firm died for a lack of a second.

While the council discussed the matter, Alderman Barbie Elliott said she would like to see the city give consideration to dredging Vandalia Lake.

She said the lake, which is a little more than 40 years old, was expected to have a life expectancy of 25 years.

Also at the meeting, Mayor Rick Gottman announced that the superintendent of the citys water plant, Bob Dowell, is retiring at the end of May.

Dowell has been an employee of the water department for more than 17 years and superintendent of the water treatment plant for about 12 years.

In other action on Monday:

The council approved the final plat for Veterans Court Subdivision. Bill Yorks subdivision is located off of Veterans Avenue near Security Finance.

The council approved the transfer of Vandalia Lake lot No. 81 from David and Teresa Swain of Brownstown to Samuel Miller of Brownstown.

The council approved a resolution authorizing the execution of subordination of a mortgage for Octochem. City Administrator Jimmy Morani explained the city has held the third mortgage on an Octochem loan, and that Mondays action was needed due to refinancing with another lending institution.

At the request of Cable and Public Works Director John Moyer, the councils water and disposal plants committee will meet with local plumbers at 7 p.m. next Tuesday at city hall.

The meeting is needed, Moyer said, because some local plumbers are not repairing streets properly after making residential repairs, and that the $7,500 bond they are required to post is not sufficient to take care of the street problems.

After meeting in closed session, the council approved a $87,456.93 payment to Curry Construction of Mattoon for water and sewer line extensions to the northwest quadrant of the citys western Interstate 70 interchange.

All thats left of the $1.054-million bill is the 10-percent retainage amount, $121,002.22. Morani said that amount would be paid once all work on the project is completed.

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