City's water budget to rise while sewer funding lowers
EMC paid $1 million to manage wastewater plant

By Bob Gough

It will cost the city of Quincy, IL more to provide water, but less to get rid of it.

The Water Department’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2004 is up $252,941 from this year to $4.32 million. But the Sewer Department will see its budget drop by $271,577 to $3.35 million.

The Water Department has a fund balance of $3.7 million and will generate almost enough revenue to break even next year. Mayor Chuck Scholz said the department is expected to generate $4.2 million through water bills, even though it stands to lose $500,000 in revenue because of the closing of the Quincy Celotex plant.

"They were our No. 1 customer," Scholz said. "We have to deal with that loss and we are going through a rate study process. We have a $40 million system out there and we have to be able to set aside money for future maintenance and expand the system to support the new margarine plant at ADM."

The reduction in the Sewer Department budget is primarily because of the decision to privatize some workers at the wastewater treatment plant.

Environmental Management Corporation of Ballwin, Mo., signed a five-year contract with the city that pays the company $1 million a year to manage the plant and began work in June 2002. The plant had cost the city $1.2 million to operate last year. Fiscal 2004 will be the first full budget year where the $200,000 annually savings will be evident.

Kent said the bulk of the savings comes from the reduction of seven city employees in the waste water treatment plant. Kent said EMC should be able to run the plant more efficiently. The $1 million the city will pay EMC will cover all costs except for capital improvements.

"Since these people (EMC) are used to running other treatment facilities, they’re looking at other areas such as future energy savings for us as far as electricity is concerned," Kent said.

"They have a different preventive maintenance program than we do for our equipment and machinery. They take care of utilities and maintenance of a major piece of equipment should it break down."

"We’re also starting our security audit with our private firm that’s doing that along with the vulnerability study in the first part of May for the initial part," Kent said. "We’re assuming once the study is complete we’ll have some additional areas to address."