Lake Mykee to decide $1.5 million sewer bond issue

Town can build plant or join Holts Summit

In Tuesday’s election, voters in Lake Mykee will decide whether to issue $1.5 million in revenue bonds to pay for sewerage system improvements.

John Marden, treasurer of the Lake Mykee Board of Trustees, said the ballot measure carries no tax increase because if approved by a simple majority the $1.5 million in revenue bonds would be paid off entirely by an increase in monthly sewer fee charges to users.

Marden said the push for the bond issue came after United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established stricter sewage treatment regulations to be enforced by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“The state basically told us we had to upgrade our sewage lagoon system because it no longer meets standards,” Marden said.

Marden said the Lake Mykee Homeowners Association deeded the Lake Mykee sewerage system to the town of Lake Mykee, which has authority to issue bonds with voter approval.

The Lake Mykee Board of Trustees, Marden said, now has responsibility mainly for streets and the sewerage system.

The Homeowners Association, he said, continues to enforce subdivision covenants and takes care of the lake, its water quality and dam maintenance.

Confronted with the state sewerage system upgrade mandate, Marden said the Lake Mykee Board of Trustees hired qualified engineers to assess the situation and they determined that the board has two options. He said either option would cost about $1.5 million.

The first option is to extend Lake Mykee’s sewer lines to connect with the Holts Summit sewerage system, which Marden said is located about one mile away. Lake Mykee then would install pumps to move its sewage to Holts Summit. A gravity-flow system, he said, is not possible because of the terrain.

The second option is for Lake Mykee to build its own sewage treatment plant and operate it.

In either case, Lake Mykee residents would face increased sewer service charges.

To pay off the $1.5 million in revenue bonds needed for either option, Marden said engineers calculated the current $40 monthly sewer fee charge for each of the estimated 200 residences in the village of Lake Mykee would have to be increased to at least $51 a month to retire the $1.5 million in revenue bonds in 32 years. He said the city is working with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to arrange low-interest bond financing for sewer improvements.

Marden said if an equitable arrangement can be worked out with Holts Summit, the vastly preferred option is for the city of Lake Mykee to contract with Holts Summit to provide sewerage system services to Lake Mykee.

Building and operating a Lake Mykee sewage treatment plant, he said, would involve more long-term expense obligations than the Holts Summit connection option. Marden said operating costs for an independent sewage treatment plant could be expected to increase rapidly in coming years, mainly by ever-increasing federal government mandates.

Many small cities, he said, are avoiding such long-term expensive obligations by contracting for sewerage services with larger nearby cities.

Marden said several engineering firms provide qualified operating personnel for small sewage treatment plants but charges for one person to operate the system are at least $50,000 to $60,000 a year. The city also would shoulder all costs for maintaining the plant, which also is expensive.

Marden said many cities in Missouri are experiencing changing water quality and sewage treatment mandates imposed each year by the federal government and enforced by the state.

“Those potential costs down the road also make operating your own treatment plant potentially extremely expensive and a financial obligation we need to try to avoid if possible,” Marden said.

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