City of Monticello realizes lost Mayor’s dream, breaks ground on $10M water project

Throughout his term as Mayor of the city of Monticello, the late Allen Maxwell recognized a dire need to revitalize the city water and sewer system. During this time, Maxwell had worked with city officials and members of the Siemens team to bring this dream to reality.

On Monday, while still mourning the death of its leader, the city held a ground breaking ceremony for the $10 million project that Maxwell was so instrumental in putting in place.

“We are united to celebrate a milestone occasion for the city of Monticello,” said Andrea Chambers, city clerk. “It has been a long journey to arrive at this day, one that will be remembered as the day our great city took a leap and followed the wisdom of our city council and our mayor to enhance the lives and health of our citizens.”

The journey to Monday began several years ago.

Over the past several years, the city has put a tremendous shift to upgrading the water system.

“Water is the biggest and most difficult issue within the city,” Maxwell said during a city council meeting early last year. “This includes pipes, wells and towers.

We have extremely good drinking water, but we now must make the infrastructure as good as the water.”

Maxwell added that 60 percent of the city’s water system problems come from only 19 percent of the entire area of the city.

He said at that time that the city had 200 water meters pulled and sent to two separate laboratories to see if they were working  properly. Once the results came in, it showed that city’s meters were operating with only approximately 57 percent accuracy.

In an attempt to find the most feasible solution, Monticello entered into an agreement with what Maxwell called a leading authority of civic water systems; Siemens Water Solutions.

“We want to move forward in the process to engage in a Guaranteed Energy Savings Performance Based Project with Siemens,” said Maxwell. “After their initial study, Siemens will come back to the city council with its findings. The findings will be based on the amount of energy that Siemens study says is being lost with the current water system.”

In September, Maxwell signed a $10 million contract with Siemens Corp. so that work could soon begin on the highly anticipated water and sewer improvement project. The city secured funding through putting into place a bond issue.

“The water system has been ‘out of sight, out of mind’ since it was put into the ground in 1905,” Chambers continued on Monday. “It has served the city well but it is time to replace the aging system and move forward.”

According to Chambers and Tony Ardillo, senior account executive for Siemens, the water project will take approximately two years to complete. “All water meters in the city, over 4,000, will be replaced within six months, weather permitting,” said Chambers. “This will provide accurate readings and allow electronic reads, thereby saving time and money for the city. The new pipe will be installed to eliminate leaks caused by the failing structure.”

In addition to marking the beginning of one of the city largest projects to date, Chambers said Monday was also a sad occasion.

“We have lost our leader and visionary of our times,” she said. “Mayor Allen Maxwell was our leader, colleague, supporter, pioneer and a friend. This city has suffered a set-back, but we will move forward focused on his dreams and his goals. Our city will be the one that other cities look to for guidance. We will run the race and Monticello will win.”

The Advance-Monticellonian

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Monticello, AR 71657

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Monticello, AR 71655

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