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Springfield approves water deal with IDA
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The Springfield City Council approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Effingham Industrial Development Authority for water at the I-16 tracts Thursday.

Springfield has plans to put in a new well north of Highway 119 and out of the state Environmental Protection Division’s so-called red zone and transfer water to the IDA for its development at I-16 and Old River Road.

City Manager Brett Bennett said there are a few things in the wording of the agreement that need to be worked on.

“In section one 450 gallons per day will be transferred to the county, and 150 gallons per day will be reserved for the IDA,” Bennett said. “The balance of 350 gallons needs to be 300 because those numbers just don’t add up.

“In section two the design will be completed within three months, and it leaves it at that, so we’re just going to add the design will be completed within three months from the date of this agreement,” he said.

Bennett said there is also wording in regard to Springfield will collect “customary impact fees” for everything served by the new pipeline. He said he feels it should be cleaned up so that it is not mistaken as someone who will be tying into the existing system, which will be connected to the new line would have the same fees.

Bennett said he was also concerned about wording that would require Springfield to pay the IDA back if the well at the I-16 industrial park was not permitted by a certain date.

“We’re going to say ‘if it’s not constructed,’” Bennett said.

He said he had a problem with Springfield being held financially responsible for something out of the city’s control.

“I don’t think it will happen, but (if) the county messes something up in the permitting process, how is that our fault,” Bennett said.

Council member Charles Hinely said there is one thing that everyone overlooks while discussing the agreement — if Springfield doesn’t get the new permit from the EPD, it will keep its current permit for the wells south of Highway 119. Water withdrawals south of 119 have been capped by the state.

 “All these permits have to be issued before we give up anything below 119,” he said.

Council member Kenny Usher said his understanding is once construction on the new well begins, the permit should be issued. Bennett said that is everyone’s feeling, but it is not in “black and white” at this point.

“That’s typical of EPD,” Bennett said. “They’re not going to stick themselves out that far.”

Council member Troy Allen asked if there was a timeline to get the construction of the pipeline done in order for the agreement to remain valid with the IDA. He said his concern is once work begins there are aspects of the project that will be out of the city’s hands.

Bennett said as part of the bid process there will be a deadline requirement.

The agreement was approved unanimously pending changes the changes discussed.