The city of Early will look to offload an estimated 500 bales of hay in the near future and are expected to begin baling their first crop Wednesday.

Early City Administrator Tony Aaron requested input from the council, which then created the foundation of city policy regarding the sale of crops produced from treated wastewater from the city wastewater treatment plant, which went online nearly a year ago.

“Hey is going to start going down in a month or so because of the new cuttings,” Councilman Benny Allcorn said. “Right now, it’s still very high. We should start seeing reduction, but it’s still in the $80 to $90 range right now.”

During Tuesday’s monthly meeting councilmen established a minimum price per bale at $60, establishing a two-week period in which Early will accept bids and, in the case of two matching bids, use the date of the earliest bid as the tie-breaker.  The council unanimously approved allowing Aaron and Mark Bessent, city attorney, to hammer out the finer details of the city policy. One detail Aaron and Bessent will hash out is the lot size. While seeking to create a lot size feasible enough to attract larger industrial agriculture operations, they also sought to create options feasible for smaller local operations.

“The work we’re going to have to put into it is how we divide it up,” Aaron said. “How many lots are we going to have? Are we going to have four 25-bale lots and four 50 and a couple of 100? We will know that when we know exactly how much hay we have.”

The crop comes nearly a year to the day when Early turned on its $6.8 million wastewater treatment plant. As part of the system, wastewater filters from three lagoons with naturally occurring enzymes breaking down and treating the water as it enters the next lagoon. Once in the final lagoon, the water is then disperse in a city-owned hayfield. With the quality of hay determining the price, Aaron expects a significant asking price, but must first have it tested.

“It will go into a public bid process and be notified in the paper through the classifieds,” Aaron said. “We will [promote] it on our Facebook page and try to get as many people aware of it so they can put in a bid. This is a crop that is a winter crop, which is one-time only. Our permanent crop, we’re putting it in the ground at the end of this month. Once it’s established, it may take 6 to 8 months, we should be harvesting three times a year.”

The city council also:

Received a question regarding shelters for homeless transients passing through the area raised by Howard Payne University student Kashtyn Eoff. Mayor Robert Mangrum said Early has no plans at the time for construction of a homeless shelter of that type. Approved to surplussalvage $6,500 in unused sewer pumps for to sale to Santa Anna. Approved a $2,000 grant to The Lyric Theatre.