Quincy News

Quincy Utilities Committee gets first glimpse of infrastructure project list

A car drives on Thursday to the end of South Front Street in Quincy. Mayor Kyle Moore proposes to spend $14 million on water and sewer projects in the city. Jeff Conte, director of engineering and utilities, says Front Street is a critical spot because that's where sewer and water lines dating back to the 1870s are. | H-W Photo/Katelyn Metzger
By Herald-Whig
Posted: Aug. 1, 2019 12:01 am Updated: Aug. 1, 2019 11:19 pm

QUINCY -- The few members of the public who attended the Quincy Utilities Committee meeting on Thursday were among the first to get a glimpse of the projects included in the $33 million public infrastructure initiative announced by Quincy Mayor Kyle Moore last month.

Moore's proposal includes $19 million for streets and $14 million for sewer and water projects. The mayor has said the yet-to-announced street projects would be paid for using bonds, which will be financed with existing city revenue sources, including a 26-cent tax rate that has been used in the past to pay off previous bonds.

The 12 water and sewer projects announced Thursday will be paid for using low-interest loans from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, multiple city officials say.

The biggest project on the list is the overhaul of the sewer and water system along Front Street from Broadway to Jefferson. Jeffrey Conte, the city's director of engineering and utilities, said this includes an estimated $1.7 million for water upgrades and an estimated for $2.6 million for sewer upgrades. Driving the cost of this particular part of the infrastructure package is the centuries-old water and sewer lines that remain beneath the ground's surface.

"Front Street is obviously the oldest part of the city," Conte said. "It is where all of the original sewers and water lines are and where they terminate, because the water plant is also there. We have the water mains from the 1870s and sewer mains that are from about the same vintage. It all needs to be replaced because that is where all of the water for the city comes in from there, and if we lose that, then we lose the ability to deliver water elsewhere in Quincy."

Other sites on the list are:

Spruce Street, between 20th and 22nd.

Elm Street, between 28th and 30th.

Hampshire Street, 18th to 20th.

22nd Street, State to Jefferson.

Adams Street, 14th to 18th.

Amber Avenue, 18th to end of street.

Payson Avenue, 16th to 20th.

Payson Avenue, Fifth to Eighth.

Jersey Street, Fourth to Eighth.

12th Street, State to Greenmount Cemetery.

12th Street, Maine to Broadway.

Both Moore and Conte have said the city will not have to raise utility rates to pay back the loan from the IEPA.

"When we did our last rate increase, we had these projects or similar projects in mind, so we don't have to change our rate structure," Conte said. "Our rate structure is significant right now."

Conte and members of the utilities committee discussed how they hoped the list of sewer and water projects mirrored the list of street improvements.

"Otherwise, we will likely see us having to go back within the next five years to fix something with the water or sewer and then have to patch the street," Conte said. "Ideally, we would fix the water and sewer issues and then resurface the streets."

During Thursday's meeting, the city's utility committee voted unanimously to seek approval from the Quincy City Council for the utilities department to seek up to $14 million in loans from the IEPA.

Conte said moving forward with the $14 million loan will not deter the city from advancing its other planned projects, which include continuing the construction of the Solids Contact Clarifier, which is costing the city $3.2 million; the rehabilitation of the filiters in the water plant for $4 million; the construction of a well, which is tentatively slated to be built on Quinsippi Island for a cost of $6.5 million; $4 million in upgrades to a pump station in 2021; and the construction of the East Quincy Water Tower, which is slated for 2022, for $3 million.

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