City sets goal of 100 easements in 100 days for 28-mile waterline
Cameron City Manager Steve Rasmussen announced the city will take swift action after as it pursues easements needed for a for a 28-mile water pipeline.
Rasmussen announced attorneys hired by the city will set a goal of acquiring 100 easements in 100 days as it paves the way for a 28-mile waterline from the Missouri River.
“We have a total of 165 easements that are needed. These are owned by 133 separate owners. To date, we have 39 of them done, but we’re going to press forward on this on a weekly basis. Our goal is to have 100 easements in 100 days. Within three months we will come back with the easements required.”
In December, the city council unanimously approved entering into an agreement with the Great Northwest Wholesale Water Commission, composed of elected officials from Cameron, Maysville and Stewartsville. As previously reported by the Citizen-Observer, Rasmussen said Cameron could not apply for the USDA loan to fund the project because the USDA rejects applications for projects that do not already have the easements in place. Through establishing the GNWWC, the city can bypass those restrictions and gain the loan to build the pipeline while the GNWWC simultaneously pursues easements for the project. Rasmussen said use of eminent domain will only be a last-ditch effort for obtaining the easements, which said will not require the demolition of any standing structures.
“[The GNWWC] have some abilities and one of those abilities is they can enter into negotiations for a loan, which they have with the USDA to build the pipeline,” Cameron City Manager Steve Rasmussen said. “We periodically have serious drought conditions here. Last summer, we had a drought condition so serious it resulting in us laying a temporary pipeline to the Pony Express Lake. We spent about $400,000 to do that. We didn’t have to use it. It started raining before he needed to use it, but it was a wake up call that we had to get this pipeline completed.”
Rasmussen said that Maysville stands to greatly benefit from the agreement as the city of St. Joseph will treat the water pulled from the Missouri River, allowing the small municipality to forego expensive work to its water treatment plant. A recent article by the St. Joseph News-Press stated the city could sell its water treatment plant to Missouri American Water. Should sale of the treatment plant take place, Rasmussen said the city would negotiate a new water treatment agreement with the water supplier. The city council approved allocating approximately $500,000 from its general fund to the GNWWC in order to contract attorneys and begin the process of gathering the easements.
“We have to have the easements, that is permission from the landowners, to put the water pipe through their land. The problem was USDA would not give us or approve any advance on that money until we got the easements,” Rasmussen said. “You can get easements because some people will give it to you out of the goodness of their hearts, and we got about 25 percent of the easements that way … The other ones said ‘No’, either because they wanted to get some money out of the project or they were opposed to public projects or whatever reason they may have. Now what happens is we have to take more serious action and that is provide money and pay them for that and the commission has the ability to enter eminent domain.”