Hannibal’s storm-water utility, which came into existence last summer, was given a $1 million budget with which to operate on initially. Since the fledgling utility thus far has no source of revenue, the source of the $1 million is a loan agreement between the HBPW’s Electric Fund and Storm-Water Fund.

To most Hannibalians $1 million sounds like a lot of money. But for the Hannibal Board of Public Works’ (HBPW) new storm-water utility, it’s far less than is needed to address the community’s multitude of drainage issues that need attention.

Hannibal’s storm-water utility, which came into existence last summer, was given a $1 million budget with which to operate on initially. Since the fledgling utility thus far has no source of revenue, the source of the $1 million is a loan agreement between the HBPW’s Electric Fund and Storm-Water Fund.

“When we asked to transfer $1 million we anticipated that we would be able to establish a fee a little quicker,” said Bob Stevenson, general manager of the HBPW, during the HBPW Board’s Dec. 19, 2017, meeting. “Right now Black & Veatch is telling us we probably cannot expect to see a regular revenue stream until July of 2019. That’s a year-and-a-half from now so in the meantime we’ve got $1 million that we’ve already committed I’d say one-half now in wages, repairs we know we’ve got to do, plus the Black & Veatch contract.”

Black & Veatch was hired late last year to help the HBPW come up with a rate structure for the storm-water utility.

“I’m guessing we’re going to have $2 million a year in the (storm-water) budget, and that might be high,” said Stevenson, regarding anticipated annual storm-water income once a rate structure is developed and implemented.

While a significant amount of the $1 million has either been spent or is committed, HBPW Board President Lennie Rosenkrans wants to see the storm-water utility get by on what it has already borrowed.

“I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want to run out of money and have to borrow more money before we ever get to where we actually start having money (coming in). That is not responsible,” he said.

Some storm-water issues have already been addressed.

While completing the milling for the paving of Church Street, a void was found under the pavement. It was determined that the void was caused by a failed storm-sewer inlet. The Street Department removed the section of street above the void, repaired the inlet and filled the void with concrete.

At 11th Street and Warren Barrett a hole in the street had been covered by a steel plate for a little over a year. When it was found out that the street was going to be repaved the sewer crew dug up and sealed the faulty joint in the reinforced concrete pipe. The cost of the repair was estimated at less than $1,000.

In the 2300 block Chestnut $15,000 was spent to complete a temporary repair within the right-of-way to get the alley back open. The sewer crew installed approximately 16 feet of 48-inch dual wall high-density polyethylene pipe, replacing the collapsed section.

Next the storm-water utility is being asked to address a significant problem on the South Side.

“For the past several years a storm sewer that runs under Martin Street failed to the point that sinkholes were making it to the street surface. Each time a temporary repair was made in order to keep the street open,” said Mathew Munzlinger of the HBPW. “Earlier this year (2017), multiple sinkholes opened up resulting in the street being limited to a single lane. To address concerns of emergency vehicle access and numerous concerns from local residents, PSBA (Poepping, Stone, Bach & Associates) was contracted to come up with a solution to the problem.”

Six potential repairs were proposed, ranging in cost from just under $200,000 to almost $400,000.

“The question is do we fix it right now?” asked Stevenson. “We can fix it right now. We can sign some contracts with Poepping, put this out for bid and do the work in the spring.

“The design is valid for now or later. The estimate probably won’t change, but with inflationary factors if we wait two years it will probably be a little bit more. But the big question is should we blow our wad on this or move on and see what some of the other (needs are)?”

Rosenkrans asked about the criteria that helps determine in what order storm-water projects are undertaken.

“What are the factors that put you at the head of the line? We have limited funds. Until we get something (priority criteria) lined up I don’t know that we take off and do things,” he said.

No action was taken on the Martin Street storm-water project during the December meeting. Additional information such as a traffic study will be sought before a decision is made regarding those repairs.

Reach reporter Danny Henley at danny.henley@courierpost.com