"It was impossible"; Oblong opts out of grant that would require major sewer rate hike

The grant was to be used to help fix the town's wastewater lagoons.

Posted: Aug 2, 2019 7:50 PM

OBLONG, Ill. (WTHI) - The wastewater lagoons in oblong are at capacity. A project to clean them would cost roughly $400,000. For city leaders that meant doing one thing.

Oblong mayor Teresa Fielder says, "We walked house to house and were able to finish and get a hundred percent of the households in oblong."

That 100 hundred percent collection rate was needed to be eligible for a grant from the Wabash Planning commission. It was an accomplishment for the mayor.

Fielder explains, "Getting those surveys off my desk and to them felt like a load lifted off my shoulders."

Fielder hoped the surveys would prove to the state that the town was worthy of help. Instead, the commission said the town would have to nearly double it's sewer rates to be eligible.

Fielder says, "The price per household just for the sewer part would have to be raised up to thirty dollars and ninety-four cents."

That rate would have to be increased by an August 29th deadline.

Fielder explains, "I don't want to let them down and as soon as we heard that that sewer rate would have to be that much to apply for that grant, it was just...it was impossible."

Oblong has just over two hundred thousand dollars saved up for a lagoon project. The mayor says they are now looking to other options to get the job done.

Fielder says, "We have a little nest egg and then we will look at our engineer's options with some ideas that they're headed out. We may have to get a loan."

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