City Council hears updates on water plant; Siler resigns

by Charles Gerian

The Blackwell City Council met Thursday night to accept the resignation of their newest council member and to hear about the progress of the forthcoming water plant.

The meeting began with authority board reports and an update on the City of Blackwell’s finances from Meredith Meacham who noted that Blackwell’s Sales Tax Revenue was up 20% in July with over $300,000 dollars, which excited the council.

The Council also accepted the resignation of Jim Siler, who was sworn in at the end of July as Blackwell’s Ward 3 council representative.

Siler’s resignation was caused by his legal obligation to another board and entity, preventing him from holding a spot on the Blackwell council.

Siler and the council were both upset by the turn of events, and a new council member will be appointed soon.

Onto business, the City Council approved some necessary legal action in regards to their $600,000 CDBG Grant which will be going towards the renovation of the water plant.

The Blackwell Fire Department received a bid for a drone which they will be using to assess dangerous situations and in various search and retrieval situations.

The Blackwell F.D. also will be getting 4 new sets of Bunker Gear.

The Blackwell Street & Parks Department looked to replace their wheel loader for a newer model as theirs has seen several hard years of work.

Capital Improvement money will be going towards the machine which will come in just over $170,000.

“You do need it, right?” City Attorney Bryce Kennedy asked, jokingly, to which Department Manager Chuck Anderson laughed at saying “Yes sir”.

The City then approved Jana Walker for a $25,000 audit which is an annual expense that allows the City of Blackwell to have their finances thoroughly combed through.

The City Council then heard from Matthew Coe with Myers Engineering, the man who is spearheading the water plant project.

Coe spoke at length, noting that the work will begin very soon and that the decision to revitalize the current plant versus building a new one will end up being beneficial to the City of Blackwell, allowing work to be conducted in stages and allowing them to make changes that will future-proof the facility for generations to come.

The CDBG Grant will go to replacing crucial pumps while the City is hard at work on receiving a DWSRF Loan for up to $1 million dollars which, as a forgiveness loan, will not be required to be paid back by the City of Blackwell.

Coe and the City Council agreed that the “bones” of the water plant are good, and it is a priority to modernize the pumps, lime and radium cleaning and filtration systems, and to reduce the water hardness, allowing for better flow of water even in areas of town where the lines haven’t been replaced yet.

The goal, Coe said, was to provide clean and clear drinking water to all of Blackwell.

Over the summer, the Blackwell Water Department has been hard at work replacing lines throughout the town. Earlier this month they were working on the north side of town.