The city of Linn Creek broke ground Friday afternoon on the construction of the new water system paid for in part by a federal stimulus grant.

The city of Linn Creek broke ground Friday afternoon on the construction of the new water system paid for in part by a federal stimulus grant.

With the work set to begin Monday morning, weather permitting, the mayor, engineers, contractors, police chief and a resident instrumental in making this happen gathered together to put the first shovels in the ground to get the ball rolling on the project.

Resident and landowner Jim Hymes was there to be apart of the groundbreaking ceremony and said he looks forward to new system.

“This is something that will benefit me for years to come and my children and grandchildren,” he said.

Hymes owns the 40-acre lot behind Tonka Hills restaurant off of Highway 54 in Linn Creek. He sold the city parts of the property for the construction of a new water tower. He also granted the city easement for the water lines to go along with the system.

This construction was made possible by $850,000 of federal grant money, $50,000 in cash paid by the city and a $300,000 loan to be paid back at 1.5 percent interest over 20 years.

Accordingly, water rates have risen in the town of 280 residents, per the 2000 census, to a rate that some residents and business owners have raised an eyebrow to.

Tonka Hills owner Matt Rollheiser told the Lake Sun last week that his water rates went up by nearly 300 percent in November as the city began paying back the money it borrowed for a new water system.

Mayor Jack Thornhill said Missouri’s Department of Natural Resources determined the flat rate, $10.86 per 1,000 gallons of water, based on several factors, including the amount of loan, its interest rate, the life of the loan and the number of users that will eventually be on the system, which is estimated to be about 118 total.

Thornhill said the city currently has about 95 users, but will begin to integrate all of the businesses in the business park and add 11 meters in town to the system.

“Our main goals are to prolong the life of our equipment, give our citizens better water pressure and afford fire protection where there is none now.”

He said the upgrades should improve water pressure by 35 to 40 percent, correct the leaks and increase land value in the city and business park after the fire hydrants are in working use again.
“It is going to give us firefighting capacity which we do not have right now. A great many of our fire hydrant mains do not work and all of them are under capacity.”

As for the water rates, Thornhill said DNR has the final say on them, but when the job is complete, which he estimates will be at minimum six months, they will have a better idea of what the rates should be.

“In all probability, its going to be less, but we have to leave the door open,” he said, explaining that the rates have the potential to increase or decrease.

Another alternative, he said, might be to implement a half-cent sales tax on top of the existing half-cent tax. The city has petitioned the state to propose the tax increase and is waiting for their reply.

“If we can add a half-cent sales tax, that will allow us to reduce our rate probably 50 percent,” Thornhill said. “So it will be a tremendous boon if we can get it.”

About Linn Creek
(U.S. Census Bureau; 2000 census)
280 Total population
2.73 Average household size
$22,125 Median household income in 1999
48 Individuals below poverty level