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City of Lyons Submitting BASE Grant Application for Wastewater Treatment Plan Improvements

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LYONS, Kan. – During a special meeting last Thursday the Lyons City Council approved submitting an application to the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing for a BASE grant in support of improvements to the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The City previously applied for a BASE grant last year on what was estimated at the time to be a $2.8 million project, but it was not funded. Thaniel Monaco from BG Consultants, who participated in the meeting by phone, said all last year’s grants went to larger cities.

With only $50 million in funding available this year, as compared to $100 million last year, Monaco said it may be beneficial for the city to offer a 50% local match rather than the 25% submitted last year. That 25% was based on what the city had available at the time.

Over the past year, multiple issues have been identified at the plant, and Monaco said the projected cost for improvement is close to $5 million, and perhaps more.

Improvements to the plant would include new headworks, upgrading all electrical services to 480 volts, new screening equipment, and a secondary pump station. One item not included as of now is the replacement of the sludge press, with the current one being original to when the plant was constructed.

One factor that may aid the city with the match is being included on the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Sewer Revolving Loan (SRF) Intended Use Plan at a value of $2.5 million. Those dollars, combined with what has been spent on the plant since 2019, would be added to the city’s “matching capacity” in the application.

The city currently has a monthly capital improvement fee of $10 dollars as part of sewer base charges, which generates around $204,000 a year. Those funds could be utilized to make payments on a low-interest loan for the project and would be sufficient to service close to a $3 million dollar loan over a 20-year period. If the BASE grant is awarded, the city would not have to borrow as much in SRF funds.

Because the application, to be prepared by South Central Kansas Economic Development District, must be submitted by January 31st, it was necessary to call a special meeting of the Council to obtain their approval for both changing the scope of the project and increasing the local match proposed.

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