MENOMINEE — The City of Menominee Finance Committee heard from Coleman Engineering regarding a preliminary plan for water and sewer system upgrades, as well as road construction in the areas that receive these upgrades, at Wednesday’s meeting.

The proposed project would see a cost increase of 9% per quarter for an average user, as $5.2 million of the project’s $7.5 million cost would come from a state revolving loan fund.

“When you say this will be funded as long as we do the right things,” asked Councilmember Frank Pohlmann, “What will be funded? The engineering work?”

“All of the work,” said Jeff Sjoquist of Coleman Engineering, “the engineering, the construction; about $7 million total because there’s some road referendum money budgeted towards it, all the aspects would be funded by a combination of a drinking water revolving loan fund, a clean water revolving loan fund, which is sewer; and then the majority of the roadway portion would be coming from the road referendum money.”

Pohlmann asked if there was any grant money involved in paying for this project, however, Sjoquist said while there is a little grant money involved, much of the grant money is available to disadvantaged communities, which Menominee did not qualify for under the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE).

“It’s kind of similar to the SAW (stormwater, asset management and wastewater) program that you went through a few years ago with your wastewater. I don’t believe you were a disadvantaged community there either. But there is a little bit of grant money involved. Because of the lead water services involved, they are offering a grant of $45,500. That’s not a huge grant in the grand scheme of a multi-million dollar project, but it is something,” Sjoquist said.

As far as the loans themselves, Sjoquist said the loans needed for the project are 30-year loans at a rate of 2.125%. “That’s what the state would be offering. To the best of my knowledge, for a project like this, this is the only funding source other than locally funding yourselves that you’re going to be able to get for this project,” he said.

In terms of the timing for the project, Sjoquist said construction will likely begin in 2022. “This job will be advertised for bids around May 28, and they’d open bids on June 28. They’d be closing next fall on this, with construction starting in 2022,” he said.

Pohlmann asked how long the project would take to finish. Sjoquist said that he thinks the project could be finished in a year, though he said it could cover two construction seasons. Additionally, he said there would likely need to be two separate contractors to work on the whole project: one to handle the road construction and the other to work on replacing the lead service pipes.