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Village needs survey responses to save taxpayer dollars

Oblong recently found out it's eligible for a big grant to save money on a waste water maintenance project.

Posted: Aug. 21, 2018 7:21 PM

OBLONG, Ill. (WTHI) - Maintenance work on any municipality's equipment can get expensive, and it's your tax money that pays for it. Oblong recently found out it's eligible for a big grant to save money on a wastewater maintenance project.

At this point, it is a race against the clock for the Village of Oblong to get their ducks in a row to apply. As Public Works Superintendent Gary Lanter says filtering used water is a simple, but dirty process.

He says, "This was built in the very early '70's, we don't have any industrial or any other type of waste other than just residential, so it’s taken a long time for our lagoon to fill up."

But now, the time is finally coming around for the Oblong.

Lanter shares, "Our pond is basically filling up with sludge. We have less water area so Mother Nature doesn't have as much room to do her job."

That's where a Community Development Assistance Program Grant Oblong wants to apply for, comes in. As Mayor Teresa Fielder says, the price tag to drain out the pond's sludge is pretty high.

Fielder says, "Our estimated cost for the lagoon clean out is around $400,000. So by getting $200,000, that is going to help us immensely."

Lanter says the lagoon isn't in a dire state of affairs right now. But, he says that by fixing it early, it could save taxpayers money in the long run.

Lanter shares, "Every year you gain more sludge and the project cost goes up a little bit, so when you're trying to save money, it seems like you can never get ahead."

But Lanter says the time is now for sewer customers to fill out surveys that would qualify the Village for the needed grant.

Lanter says, "Get those in they're very important. If we can get enough of those in and qualify for the grant, and get some help with this project, we'll be able to keep your sewer bills affordable."

Fielder says the surveys need to be postmarked before August 25th. That's this Saturday. Sewer customers even get a $5 dollar credit for completing it.

Customers should have received stamped envelopes and surveys from Connor & Connor Engineering. If you have any questions or issues, Mayor Fielder says you can contact Connor & Connor at 618-544-8623.

The Mayor says another survey for housing was also sent out to Oblong residents. She says the goal is to bring more housing and increase the population of the Village.

Mayor Fielder says the data collected by this survey is private and is only for purposes of applying for the grant. If the Village doesn’t get the CDAP grant, the survey information will be saved to try again next year.

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