Thursday night’s Lakeland Sewer District meeting left a bit to be desired by the public present. The main topic of the meeting was the ongoing grinder and waste management plant project.
Although the board refused to estimate what the large district project will cost, one member joked he was hoping the lowest bid would come in at “free.”
Dec. 11 will see the opening to bidding, and the board is expecting bids from several companies. They will have 90 days to rummage through the bids, but can ask for an extension if the process is too time-consuming. The board laid out a schedule for accepting the bids, and hopes to be finalizing the now five-year project by March 5.
The board noted they would hold several public hearings in order to keep the community informed, but one public member had his doubts. Voicing his opinion as someone who lives outside the district, one man spoke to the board about holding public meetings for such a large project on a Saturday, rather than the typical Thursday. He made reference to a former meeting attracting more than 400 public visitors. He accused the board of meeting the bare minimum on informing the public, and suggested mailings and more public information.
Another public visitor, Mark Dillon, is the owner of a local business, #1 Stop Bait and Tackle, near North Webster. Dillon said he had been coming to meetings recently in order to better understand the project. According to Dillon, he was told previously he would be able to hook up to the grinders, but is now being told he is outside the district and will have to pay to hook up.
The board explained to Dillon a set of rate and use ordinances would need to be drafted once the project has the green light, and at that time will be able to discuss getting him hooked up to the grinder system in his area. “I’m just trying to work with you, and I hope you will work with me,” said Dillon.
Karen Bozarth of Irish Lake was present in the audience as well. She asked each board member to introduce themselves and name their companies or affiliations. Bozarth asked the board how the project would begin, given the green light. One board member explained zones A, B and C (as they are divided for reference on the map) would actually all see construction at the same time, with possibly four different companies working simultaneously to complete the project.
The next sewer district meeting will be held 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 1, at the North Webster Community Center.