MOUNT CARMEL -- Mount Carmel City Council has taken the first step to remove the city from the Wabash Valley Regional Water Commission.

This follows an earlier vote of the Albion City Council to also withdrawal from the commission.

Mount Carmel Water Commissioner Justin Dulgar was out of town for Monday's Mount Carmel City Council meeting, but City Clerk Rudy Witsman read the following statement from Dulgar.

"At the end of the day, Albion felt the water was going to cost them too much. They don't have the current cost of a plant to maintain today so the increase would have been significant. They are going to pursue a smaller option for themselves. Some in Albion felt they shouldn't have to pay for the infrastructure in Mount Carmel for us to join. I am looking for a long term solution for the City of Mount Carmel and they were not," said Dulgar.

"This was a great idea to research, as many communities all over the country combine together for regional systems with huge success. That being said, it didn't work out and we must move forward. The USDA now has $100 million in loan and $16 million in grants for the state this year. I recommend that we pull out of the water commission and move forward with our own plant and take advantage of this grant and loan money. When I spoke with Mike Wallace with the USDA he said we would be eligible, since we tried the regional idea and it didn't work," Dulgar explained.

The council heard the first reading of a repeal from the water commission and will vote during their next meeting to make the repeal final. Dulgar said the city will then apply for grants and loans through USDA to fund upgrades and renovations requested by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The council opened bids Monday for renovations on the water and sewer plant that were previously deemed necessary by the EPA. Midwest Petroleum Excavation won the contract, based on contingent state loan funds, with the low bid of $933,000. Also bidding were were DeBra-Kuempel at $1,239,525 and Kieffer Brothers Construction at $1,333,928.

For the water plant discharge line replacement, Kieffer Brothers Construction offered the sole bid of $378,845.

Witsman said the city is waiting on state approval to move forward with the projects.

The chip and seal bids will be opened at city hall on May 23 at 11 a.m.

The council approved an agreement to pay Marion Development $26,900 to create a new Tax Increment Finance District for the property bordering Illinois Route 15 near the Super 8 Motel where new Villas of Holly Brook Assisted Living Area will be developed.

The city's application for a grant through the Illinois Department of Transportation to help with the Market Street streetscape was denied. Witsman said the city will use TIF funds to replace the flashing light with street scape stop signs this summer.

Council members also learned the Brush Harbor will be closed on Saturday and Monday for the Memorial Day Holiday and re-open Tuesday, May 29.

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