Construction at Nutbush could begin by March

Dec. 10, 2012 @ 09:47 PM

Henderson’s city manager expects a bid to be awarded in January and work to begin in March for a $16.6 million sewer facility upgrade.

The city council committed to a state-approved loan agreement at its regular meeting Monday. The construction project at the Nutbush sewer treatment facility will be one of the city’s most significant fiscal commitments in years.

Ray Griffon, the city manager, said bids will be coming in over the next several weeks.

“I think we will be awarding a bid in January,” Griffin said. “I believe it is possible that we could have a March start up for work to begin.”

Frank Frasier, the assistant city manager and supervisor of utilities, said the zero-percent interest loan would save the city about $4 million over the 20-year term over a standard 2.5-percent municipal utility loan. Included is $1 million in loan forgiveness.

The city also received a $600,000 grant toward engineering expenses and sewer upgrade projects, pushing the investment value to about $16.9 million.

Frazier said the funding program is the best the city could have done for work critical to the future of wastewater treatment.

Griffin said bidding notices to contractors are out for constructing new-technology works bringing the plant up to date with modern water reclamation processes.

The loan was provided through the Clean Water Management Trust Fund. Paying down on the loan will impact sewer treatment service rates in the near future, but the city will be able to stay in code compliance.

In other action by the council, a second measure of grace was given to owners of three homes on Charles Street and another on Rowland Avenue. Louis and Veronica Medina had sought an extension in August and were given 90 days.

Some work has been done to bring the homes near minimum compliance standards in an effort for them to be sold as fix-up starter homes, according to Corey Williams, the director of code compliance.

Griffin told the council that time ran out on that 90-day agreement.

“These items were supposed to be done by today,” Griffin said.

Williams estimated the progress near 40 percent of what is needed.

Council members questioned the wisdom of tearing down structures where some work had been done, asking if there was a hurry to put the properties at the top of a list of more than a dozen scheduled for demolition and awaiting funding.

Williams said funding would run out on the existing list of properties. He said the Medinas’ homes would range among the larger, more expensive demolition projects.

In a related decision on a consent agenda, the council approved activating $49,000 in budgeted funding, moving it to a designated fund to begin several demolitions during the present fiscal year.

“We already have a lot of properties on the list that will be torn down over time,” Councilwoman Sara Coffey said. “I just think it would look foolish to put these on the list, and they’re getting some work done on them while we all know there are other properties down there that no one gives a hoot about.”

Councilman Vernon Brown asked if the Medinas, representatives and real estate agents had gotten involved with the betterment of these homes and preparing for sale.

Williams said that a real estate agent was involved with progress toward selling.

“I am leaning toward extending them some more time, because I am a sympathetic person, and there was some work done,” said Councilwoman Brenda Peace-Jenkins.

Coffey introduced a substitute resolution for the extension, to include language from the original 90-day extension regarding required improvements expected.

“I would like to extend that for another 90 days,” she said.

The council agreed without dissent.


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