Meadowlakes to tighten belt to pay for new water tank

CONNIE SWINNEY • PICAYUNE STAFF

MEADOWLAKES — The price of a proposed ground-level water storage tank has jumped 20 percent over the anticipated cost, and city leaders said they will postpone another water plant-related project and re-route reserves to foot the bill.

Meadowlakes City Council members approved $351,785 for a 250,000-gallon tank during a regular meeting April 9.

Officials said the amount of the tank itself was $90,000 more than anticipated cost based on the lowest bid from Bulldog Steel Products of Clyde.

To cover additional costs associated with the tank purchase, officials will tap into operating reserves, use funding earmarked for a postponed water-treatment plant upgrade and utilize anticipated savings from “streamlined” operations at the city’s water facility.

“(The council members) are forward thinking. Currently, we have a tank that’s about 12 years old. It’s not yet in need of routine maintenance and repairs, but it will be in need in the next two to three years,” City Manager Johnnie Thompson said of the maintenance process that involves taking the existing tank off-line.

“Another consideration is we have a bottleneck on the disinfection side,” he said. “This new tank will allow us to maximize the full capacity of our water-treatment plant.”

The entire water-tank project, including installation and other equipment, is estimated to be $445,000.

The city has two storage receptacles — an elevated 200,000-gallon water tank located in the heart of the bedroom community and one 250,000-gallon ground-level water tank on City Hall property.

To help fund the project, the council borrowed $300,000 from the Meadowlakes Property Owners Association in a seven-year lease-purchase agreement.

Construction on the new tank, to be located adjacent to the existing tank, is expected to start June 15 and could be complete as early as next summer.

connie@thepicayune.com