The City of Colusa moved forward on a trio of major projects during a special meeting that lasted just 15 minutes on Friday morning, including the city’s proposed boat ramp, the Walnut Ranch Water Infrastructure Construction Project, and upgrades to the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
Wastewater Treatment Plant Project
The first item up for the council’s consideration was a resolution approving the appraised land value for agricultural lands near the city’s wastewater treatment facility. Ultimately, the city plans to purchase the property – valued at $4.92 million – to grow crops using treated effluent from the wastewater treatment plant. The land, when purchased, will be leased back to a farmer, and the revenues from the operation will be used to partially offset the purchase price. The goal, City Manager Jesse Cain said, is to stabilize future sewer rates and eliminate any “unknowns.”
Through the resolution, the council also authorized Cain to enter into negotiations for the purchase of the property. Should those negotiations prove unsuccessful, the appraisal of the property would enable the city to move forward with the eminent domain process, Cain said.
Boat Ramp Project
The council voted unanimously to approve a resolution that will fast-track the city’s boat ramp project, entering into a funding agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers to continue the permitting process for the project. The city will have to pay the Corps $3,500 for costs associated with the evaluation of engineering plans and other information provided by the city.
“The Army Corps said on June 23 that they were going to stop processing all Section 408 Permits due to a lack of funding,” Cain said, explaining the agreement. “What this does is provide money for them to continue processing our permit… This greatly improved our chances of going to construction for the boat ramp this summer… If we hadn’t done this, our chances of constructing the boat ramp this year would have been zero.”
Cain said that the city planned to go out to bid for the project this week, and that they hoped to have all of the permits in place by the time they closed the bidding process.
“I’m looking at getting this thing out to bid in the next couple days, holding a pre-bid meeting on July 26… (and) taking it to the council on Aug. 15… If everything goes right, construction could start in mid- to late-August.”
Walnut Ranch Water Infrastructure Construction Project
The council authorized Cain to sign and file a financial assistance application for water infrastructure improvements in the Walnut Ranch subdivision of Colusa.
The city applied for a $3.1 million funding agreement for the replacement of the water infrastructure in Walnut Ranch. The funding will give residents in the recently formed Walnut Ranch Community Facilities District a reprieve on their taxes, essentially cutting the assessment for water and sewer improvements in half.
“We created the Community Facilities District out there to where we could assess them $1,800 for water and sewer infrastructure improvements. Half of that assessment is for water, and the other half is for sewer,” Cain said. “It also enabled us to apply for and secure grants and loans for the project. By getting this grant, this cuts that ($1,800) in half. This brings us a step closer to getting infrastructure in place out there, and it’s going to take a huge burden off of those residents, in what it will cost to replace their water infrastructure.” ■