Stimulus money may become available to allow Brownstown to begin preliminary work on a lift station project.
During a recent Brownstown Town Council meeting that was conducted via Zoom, Brownstown Wastewater Utility Superintendent Scott Hunsucker said the funding, if awarded, could be used toward the Vallonia Road lift station.
The council unanimously gave Hunsucker approval to have the preliminary engineering report compiled for the project.
Hunsucker said during the economic downturn in 2008, stimulus money was available for shovel-ready public works projects. At that point, though, Brownstown didn’t have a need for it.
Now with the COVID-19 pandemic, he said the town’s grant writer, Shannon McLeod, told him there’s a good chance of stimulus money being available.
He told the council maybe now is the time to start working toward upgrading the lift station.
The first step is to have Wessler Engineering put together a preliminary engineering report, including the design work and equipment. Once that draft is completed within 60 days, the town will have 15 days to review and finalize it.
Hunsucker said the upfront cost of the report is $24,000, which would come out of the department’s capital improvement fund.
He said the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs used to offer planning grants to cover some or all of that cost, but that has been frozen and is being used for another purpose because of the virus pandemic.
Whether or not the town receives the stimulus money for the project, Hunsucker said it will be good to have the preliminary engineering report done. That way, he would have that information as he pursues other funding opportunities.
“The worst thing we might have to do is wait three or four years to do the project,” he said.
“It’s better to be prepared in case money is available to us, in my opinion,” Councilwoman Sharon Koch said.
“I think us taking the $24,000 hit now with the opportunity of maybe getting some return on that would be huge,” council President Gregg Goshorn said. “I think that’s something we could do to help us out.”
Other capital improvement projects for the wastewater department include updating the SCADA system and replacing the roof at the plant.
The council gave Hunsucker approval to pursue the SCADA upgrade to Windows 10, which will cost around $25,000. Hunsucker said that’s a priority because he could have compatibility issues with the system down the road if it’s not fixed. Plus, the cost could increase.
The roof, however, is not leaking at this point, and he said he could temporarily put a tarp and caulk on it until it can be replaced. That also will cost around $25,000.