Posted on

Lanesville water line project gets good news

Lanesville may soon have additional funding to replace its water lines while Milltown has to wait a little longer to see if it gets money to help with its sidewalk project.
The Harrison County Commissioners agreed at their June 16 meeting to write a letter of intent for the Lanesville Town Council. The letter would indicate the commissioners’ support for the water line project to the tune of $500,000.
And the county council, at its meeting Monday night, agreed to give the town the money when it’s needed.
Lanesville Town Council President Herbert Schneider made the request to the commissioners.
‘What we’re doing here is, our water piping is in serious trouble,’ he said. ‘Some of it is 100 years old,’ and some are covered with asbestos. We’re going to have to replace all of it,’ he said.
The town buys its water from the Edwardsville Water Co., which just passed a 13-percent rate increase, said Schneider.
Because of the pipes’ age, the town can’t run water at full pressure, Schneider said.
As part of the project, the town would replace a 35-year-old water storage tank south of St. Mary’s Church. An inspection of the 250,000-gallon tank indicates that it’s pitted on the inside.
Commissioner Jim Heitkemper, who has seen 60-year-old tanks, asked what happened to the Lanesville tank that has made it irreparable.
Michael Mathias said the tank was built during the era when lead-based paint was used.
The town council has been applying for grants and loans to help fund the project, estimated to cost $2,059,000.
‘We can’t pass the cost onto our customers or we’d be run out of town,’ Schneider said.
Lanesville utilities, which include water and septic service, have the highest rates in the area.
‘If we have to work on the system now, we have to shut it all down,’ Schneider said. ‘We have to do something; we just can’t go on any longer.’
‘We’re going to have a mess when we tear it up,’ Schneider said of the project.
Don Lopp of River Hills Economic Development District & Regional Planning Commission, said Lanesville is seeking a $500,000 grant from the Dept. of Commerce.
‘The town’s really trying to look at its options,’ Lopp said.
Schneider said money from the county wouldn’t be needed until spring.
J.R. Eckart, who chairs the county board of commissioners, said funds from the riverboat infrastructure account would be available in 2004.
Milltown town council president David Skinner and town manager Monty Garrett asked the county commissioners for funding for infrastructure improvements project.
Skinner presented three financial options; one relied totally on grants, another was 50 percent grants and 50 percent interest-free loan from the county, and the third was a low-interest loan to supplement grant money.
About 70 percent of the project, broken down into four phases, is located on the Harrison County side of Milltown, with the rest in Crawford County. Improvements include installing sidewalks, widening streets and providing for stormwater run-off. Skinner said Phase I is completed, and the town has moved into Phase II.
‘We have just about tapped all the grants that are possible,’ Skinner told the commissioners.
‘I’m not so sure I’m comfortable using riverboat money to fund this type of project,’ Eckart said
Harrison County Councilman Carl (Buck) Mathes, who was in the audience during the commissioners’ meeting, said he doesn’t see anything wrong with the county loaning money to towns.
‘I don’t see anything wrong with giving them money, either,’ he said. ‘I see it as a way of using riverboat money.’
The commissioners tabled Skinner’s request to allow Heitkemper, who took office in January and had not heard previous details of the Milltown project, time to visit the town and look at detailed drawings for the project.
‘We’d love to help you,’ Heitkemper said. ‘We just want to help you right.’