The Urbana Board of Aldermen voted at its Jan. 12 meeting to place a $3.3 million bond issue for a new water and sewer system on the ballot for the April 5 election. Alderman Debra Glass made the motion, which was seconded by Sara Cooke.

Earlier in the evening SSE engineers had presented a proposal for constructing the new system.

Mayor Carol Walker told the Reflex Tuesday the reason for the bond issue is that the current system is old, and there is no other way to cure the problems it has. For one thing, the water has an odor of sulfur and iron, and this can be solved only by adding flouride [sic: fluoride] to the water, which is not possible with the current system.

“The engineers thought we could bundle these items at the same time with a brand new system,” Walker said. She added that the city’s license for the current system expires in September, “and we don’t know what DNR’s requirements will be.”

Walker also said the city is looking into grants to pay for part of the bond issue, such as the ones achieved by Cross Timbers and Preston in building their sewer systems.

The mayor said there are a lot of unknowns at this time, such as what the new water and sewer rates for customers would be if the bond issue is passed.

“That’s one of my concerns,” she said, “but we had to rush to get the bond issue on the April ballot.”

Walker stressed that there will be town meetings before the election to explain the issue and get feedback from Urbana residents. Hopefully, there will be more information on a rate structure, also.

“I have no idea whether the bond issue will pass,” Walker said, “but we felt we needed to try it.” …