By Madge Wylie
A Town Hall meeting preceded the July meeting of the Melba City Council. The subject was a presentation of the DEQ mandate for the upgrade of the water supply. The water facility plan was completed in 2011 and then nothing was done about it. Mike Davis, city engineer presented a comprehensive plan as to what needs to be done to put in place a back-up storage tank and a pressure system to bring water flow to the level required in the event of a major fire. Right now we have no back-up storage and require the aid of neighboring fire departments such as Deer Flat, Murphy-Reynolds and Kuna such as happened last week when some of the trucks were at a BLM fire while a lot on Second Street was on fire and threatened the old lumber yard and the TK Oil Co. Fire Chief John Engle attended the meeting and emphasized the need for back-up storage as required by the DEQ.
Davis outlined the project summary cost. A storage reservoir to hold 250,000 gallons, a booster pump station and a building would approximate $1,438,000. DEQ is ready to approve the project with Melba being fourth on a list of applicants. They state that Melba qualifies for a 100% loan from DEQ. Davis presented the options for loans and grant combinations, such as a 30 year loan at a 1.75% interest rate; also a 25% grant/ 75% loan from USDA and other combinations to be considered by the City Council. A 100% loan from the ICDBG would create an increase of $26.43 which would make the total water cost for patrons $49.05 each. A grant participation would reduce the total cost by as much $200,000, according to Davis.
There will be much more discussion and it would be necessary to call for a bond election in November. Only a half dozen water users attended the meeting.
In regular meeting the council approved the tentative budget for 2015 presented by the clerk, Noni Stapleton. There will be proper publication and a formal hearing in August.
Reports were given by Parkie Stapleton, Beautification committee, and Melba Recreation by Cory Dickard. Deputy Travis Lowber gave a report. It was voted to send two councilmen to the next school board meeting regarding the proposed sidewalk between the City Hall and the grade school “Safe Routes to School” plan for which Melba received a grant last year.