LaPaz Clerk-Treasurer Lorraine Dove and Linda Sanders from Wessler Engineering appeared before the Marshall County Commissioners on Monday seeking $430,000 to allow the town to complete additional studies for a town water project.

Dove said the only way for the town to grow and be an asset for Marshall County is to have a water system.  Currently, everyone uses wells for their water supply.  Some citizens are saying the quality of their water isn’t that good and others comment that the water smells. 

The LaPaz Town Council hired Wessler Engineering to complete a preliminary study for the water system.  A report was submitted to the State Revolving Fund (SRF) to find out about qualifying for a low-interest loan or bond.  They gave the town suggestions and that will require about $430,000 in additional studies before their applications would be considered for the bond process. 

The town’s project would provide water up Michigan Road to the school at Tyler Road.  The plan also includes sending water to the east on U.S. 6 over to U.S. 31.  Dove said it is a safety factor for fire protection and providing quality drinking water. 

Greg Hildebrand, Interim Director of the Marshall County Economic Development Corporation told the commissioners MCEDC has been active in helping to develop land around LaPaz.  He said, “With this project, it makes it more attractive.  It’s the type of infrastructure investment that will pay dividends to the county and LaPaz for their health, safety, and economic development.”

Commissioner Stan Klotz told the ladies he looked into House Bill 1005, Residential Housing Infrastructure Bill.  Klotz said he believed it would help address situations like this and suggested it as another resource.

Linda Sanders told the commissioners the $430,000 it just to get the Town of LaPaz ready to go after grants.  They must be able to show that there is community support for the project and that the town can support the project. 

County Attorney Jim Clevenger said the plan is to create a water utility system that all LaPaz residents can avail themselves of and it opens the door for the possibility of new development.  There are just under 600 residents within the town limits and the town’s sewer system currently bills out about 337 households.

Commissioner Kevin Overmyer said there’s a lot of potential in the Town of LaPaz.  He explained that PIDCO only has a few parcels of land available for development in Plymouth and with access to U.S. 31, “it’s a diamond in the rough” for new industrial development as well as commercial along U.S. 31. 

Overmyer said, “I would like to see the county support the Town of LaPaz with their request, taking half of the funds from ARPA Funding and the other half from the Rainy-Day Fund.  We have a pretty healthy Rainy-Day Fund.  I think it’s important that we support the Town of LaPaz in developing that because I think that is our next industrial development site or commercial sites along that corridor.”

Commissioner President Stan Klotz said he would bring up their request to the American Resource Plan (ARP) Committee meeting at noon on Monday.  He said, “I’m not willing to make a commitment at this time.  I am willing to look at it but to guarantee funding at this point, I won’t do that.” 

The commissioners moved the request to the ARP Committee and they invited the ladies to attend the committee meeting at noon.