BENTON - With cooperation from the Scott County Commission, a sewer project can skip one step.
Engineer Norman Lambert said during the regular Scott County Commission meeting Tuesday that a proposed sewer district to be located east of Miner would serve about 200 homes.
Unlike the process for a water district, formation of a sewer district does not need a public vote.
"That can be done by the Scott County Commission," Lambert said.
"All it does is it sets up the sewer district as an entity," said Marvin Nesbit, director of business development for Schultz Engineering Services, "avoiding the cost of one election."
Once the district is formed, it is possible nothing else will happen. Voters within the district can decide if a sewer system is put in when a bond for construction costs is put on the ballot. "That's where the rubber meets the road, with the bond issue," Lambert said.
If the bond issue does pass, those in the district within a certain distance of where sewer mains are placed must hook in to the system.
To go this route, the County Commission must first be presented with a petition of at least 10 percent of registered voters within the boundaries of the proposed district. Nesbit said his company will need to work with the county clerk to get the number of registered voters within the proposed boundaries.
A public hearing is then held to provide the opportunity for anyone opposed to the project to voice objections.
Commissioners may then pass a resolution forming the district. Nesbit said his company has an attorney that will draft a resolution for commissioners.
Nesbit estimated the monthly user bill will be around $50. "You don't see (monthly sewer bills) much below $40," Nesbit said. "Sewers are much more expensive to build than water systems."
He estimated the total cost for the project will run between $1.5 million and $2.5 million.
Following newspaper coverage of Lambert's visit with the Miner city officials regarding the plan, several people have expressed interest in taking an active role supporting the district, Lambert said, as the area is densely populated and pollution is bad.
Miner city officials have been receptive to the plan due to the hookup fee and sewer system improvements the city would receive, according to Lambert.
Presiding Commission Martin Priggel said he would like the district's board be set up as early as possible to oversee the district and negotiate the agreement with Miner.
Lambert said there may be money available for the project from block grants.
"We've done eight sewer districts around the state, primarily around southeast Missouri," Nesbit said. "This is our speciality."
In other business Tuesday:
* A Scott County resident asked commissioners to explain why his neighbor's road was recently paved and his isn't even regularly graded. "It's full of holes, washboards," he said, and motorists have to drive in the grass to avoid some of the potholes.
"We're not blacktopping any new roads," Priggel said.
Commissioners explained the roads that have been recently paved are in the Sikeston Special Road District. "They went through there and blacktopped everything," said Commissioner Jamie Burger.
As for the maintenance, "We'll get somebody down there to grade it for sure," Burger promised. Officials will also check to see if the road needs any more rock, he said.
* A restoration grant through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' State Historic Preservation Office may help officials replace windows at the courthouse.
"I think we'll have a pretty good chance of getting that grant," said Joel Evans, county developer.