COLUMBIA - The city is inviting people to learn more about new storm and waste water projects that correlate with the Henderson branch sewer project.
The city released a 423 page document and published it online. It summarizes a proposal to repair sewer infrastructure and and meet with requirements of the Clean Water Act.
It would build sewers lines to serve land west of Perche Creek, including those containing Midway Truck and Travel Plaza and MidwayUSA. It would require annexation of the land and set the stage for residential and further commercial development.
The issues has divided the Columbia City Council.
"There has been an importance since 2013 to put a primacy on system rehabilitation over expansion," Columbia Councilmen Michael Trapp said.
Eighty percent of sewer resources in Columbia were put into system rehabilitation, while 20 percent is for expansion of sewer projects.
Trapp has been a long-time supporter of the Henderson branch expansion project because of failing sewer lagoons in Columbia.
" They have become non-profit sources and our impaired water shed which is the Hinkson Creek," Trapp said.
Councilmen Ian Thomas and Karl Skala have openly opposed the project because of its cost and what they consider unnecessary expantion.
Skala said in a release the cost has gone up since 2013 from $2.6 million to $4.3 million dollars.
With the cost nearly doubling since 2013, Thomas said he does not want the city to rush into an investment without the proper planning
He also said the development would lead to hundreds of acres of land annexation west of Perche Creek.
Trapp said the city should be responsible for fixing the entire water shed.
"If we want to ensure we have clean drinking water and a clean environment, we need to be doing right by the resources that have been entrusted in us," Trapp said.
The last discussion on this took place on May 21 when a 3-3 vote meant the project could not go forward.
Trapp said he hopes, over the next three months, the city is able to gain all annexation agreements from Midway USA and Larry Potterfield.
"I'm also hoping that we can pick up more votes by having annexation agreements in hand from Midway Arms and Midway Truck Stop," he said.
Skala's main concern has been the land annexation. He said, until the land has been completely annexed by Midway USA and Potterfield, he will not agree to this expansion.
His reasoning is Midway USA does not contribute to sales or property tax in Columbia.
This project will be brought before council again in August.