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City Council approves Integrated Management Plan

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The West Plains City Council met for their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday and approved a final version of the city’s Integrated Management Plan.

Public Works Director Jeff Hanshaw introduced the final version of the city’s Integrated Management Plan to council members for approval. 

Hanshaw said the final version of the city’s Integrated Management Plan schedules out the infrastructure improvements that the city needs over the next 30 years to keep utility rates within the affordability model of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

HDR developed the plan in conjunction with city staff, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Missouri Public Utility Alliance.

“We basically spent a year developing the Integrated Management Plan, and we realized we had $60 million in wastewater and $60 million in drinking water infrastructure improvements over the next 30 years that we needed to implement,” Hanshaw said. 

According to Hanshaw, in January of 2021, the city faced a grave situation.

“We were looking at $120 million worth of infrastructure that needed to happen, but according to the rate studies that we had at the time, it was showing we would have to have a 150 percent increase in the rates over six years, and we all knew that was unachievable,” Hanshaw said. 

The final version of the city’s Integrated Management Plan spreads out the rate adjustments and infrastructure improvement projects needed by the city to stay within the Missouri Department of Natural Resources guidelines and has been structured to provide maximum flexibility as needs evolve, according to Hanshaw. 

The plan also includes an annual reporting commitment to document progress and identify potential changes in any long-term planning needs identified by the city, Hanshaw said. 

“If approved, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources will write into the city’s permits of the water and wastewater treatment plants the IMP and monitor the plan to make sure the city is staying on course with the proposed IMP,” Hanshaw said. 

In a unanimous vote, the City Council approved the final version of the city’s Integrated Management Plan. 

Hanshaw said the city will now enter into a five-year action plan, which includes a facility planning effort for the first phase of improvements to the city’s wastewater treatment plant, which staff has already initiated.

"In stormwater, we will continue with our existing programs, and we will investigate funding opportunities for conveyance improvements as they come. In drinking water, we will initiate a service line inventory efforts, and initiate the detailed plan efforts for phase one storage enhancements, which we talked about in-depth, and then continue existing operation maintenance in hydrant and testing programs we started up this year," Hanshaw said. 

As far as reporting and compliance, Hanshaw said the city will provide annual progress updates to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and update the department every five years on and revisions to the city's Integrated Management Plan. 

Hanshaw said the city’s Integrated Management Plan will now be presented to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. 

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