Improving the growing community’s water and sewer infrastructure were two priorities of Dubuque officials 65 years ago.
City Manager Laverne J. Schiltz warned that the infrastructure efforts in 1955 were necessary but would come at a cost to Dubuque taxpayers.
The city’s needs were changing as Dubuque was in the midst of a population growth spurt during the 1950s. The city grew from 49,671 people in 1950 to 56,606 in 1960.
Here is how the Telegraph Herald reported on the city’s plans in its Jan. 9, 1955, edition.
’55 TO BE ‘PROGRESSIVE’ FOR CITY
The new year will be “a progressive year” for the City of Dubuque, in the opinion of City Manager Laverne J. Schiltz.
His list of plans for 1955 include some sizable projects — and some projects that are going to cost the taxpayer some of his 1955 wages.
Project No. 1 will be no news to most Dubuquers. Water. Supplying the city with enough water to fill all foreseeable needs for residents and industries for the next 20 years.
The spade work was done in 1954. Experts found the water supply under City Island.
This year, the work will be drilling the wells and at least beginning the plant for iron removal and water softening. Plans and specifications are being drawn up now and contracts for the wells probably will be let in February, Schiltz said.
The new water supply is a “must” for the coming summer, even though it is kept merely on a stand-by basis. In the summer of 1954, there were a few days when the thirsty city was drinking more water than could be pumped. Several times it was actually necessary to dip into the small water reserve.
Priority No. 2 is, likewise, an old story. Sewage disposal. The state of Iowa is getting impatient about this, and we have no choice but to build the plant, the manager said.
In the past, whenever Dubuque wanted to add to its sewer system, the state health department gave its reluctant consent with the firm understanding that the sewage disposal plant will be built without fail. The City Council last year committed itself to get the plant underway in 1955.
Part of the project will be a new interceptor sewer to take care of the section south of Asbury Road and west of the present city limits.
The building of 100 new homes is being held up in this area until sewer connections are available, according to Schiltz. ...
What are these two main projects — water and sewage disposal — going to cost the Dubuque taxpayer? The answer is a great deal, but no alternative is possible. Each project is estimated at well over $1,000,000. ...
Water rates will go up, of course. This increase, together with the new sewer rental rate, probably will double the water rate paid now by the average resident.