Saturday, February 7, 2009

Mayor optimistic Council will pass water bill

WKRN Channel 2 NEWS Nashville Mayor Karl Dean is optimistic his $555 million proposal to repair the city's aging water, sewer and stormwater system will pass the Metro Council. The plan, called the Clean Water Infrastructure Program, calls for spending $500 million over the next five years on water and sewer projects. To pay for it, residential water bills will go up nearly 8% this year, followed by smaller increases for the next two years. Plus, there will be a new monthly fee for stormwater repairs It pays for $50 million in stormwater projects over five years, and averages about $3 a month for residential users. "I am optimistic we will get the council to support this," he told a gathering of reporters prior to touring Nashville's Omohundro Water Treatment Plant Friday. The plant was built in 1889 served as a backdrop for a news conference Friday designed to pump up support for the project. "Some folks had advocated a 20% increase this year and we decided it would be better to spread out the increases overtime to minimize the impact on families," Mayor Dean said. From the depths of the old Omohundro plant next to the Cumberland River, the city's water director explained that half the cost of the project will be upgrading 3,000 miles of sewer pipes. Some pipes are more than a century old, and are prone to leaks, according to director Scott Potter. "All the stuff that goes into a toilet, all the stuff that goes into a sewer system we have got to pump it all and sometimes its not just water and that breaks stuff," said Potter. The Council is expected to consider the plan on the first of three readings on February 17. If approved by mid-March, the projects could begin by July 1.

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