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Post Falls moving $3.6M forward

by ELLI GOLDMAN HILBERT
Staff Writer | October 8, 2021 1:00 AM

POST FALLS — A $3.6 million budget amendment requested by the Wastewater Management Department was the biggest item on the menu at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Three wastewater treatment projects scheduled for FY20 were pushed into 2021. It wasn’t a matter of asking for more money, but one of moving the bucks around on paper, according to Jason Faulkner, Finance and Support Services Director.

The request elicited questions from at least one resident.

"What I have a problem with is cost overruns on this project," said Bob Flowers, a mayoral candidate. "It seems to be that the wastewater folks are always there."

“These funds were withheld from fiscal year 2020, but the work has been pushed into 2021,” Faulkner said. Money budgeted previously and not yet spent must still be properly accounted for in these cases, he said.

A Highway 41 gravity sewer project is costing just over $1 million, and the lift station and equalization project, Crimson King on 12th Avenue, requires $2,250,000. Both were scheduled for completion in 2020 and experienced construction delays.

Both projects are in process.

A sewer improvement project at Horsehaven was delayed because of COVID and needs about $110,000. Public Works Director John Beacham said the project will install a larger pipeline to accommodate growth and development.

Beacham said the Horsehaven upgrade is on hold and funds have been returned to the capital reserve account for later use.

A fourth request for an additional $160,000 is needed for a land purchase. The land will be used for a lift station expansion on Seltice Way.

“It will be less expensive to purchase land adjacent to land we currently own to expand that lift station versus moving the lift station to build a larger one,” said Shelly Enderud, city administrator.

The city hoped to have funding in place for the land purchase “if the timing worked out and an agreement was reached,” Beacham said. Since the purchase was not made before Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year, it will also be set aside and revisited in the future.

The Urban Renewal Agency has committed to reimbursing the city for about $3.2 million. None of the amendments affect the city’s property tax levy for 2021.