KIMBALL, Tenn. — City leaders will have to find another way to fund Kimball's $750,000 commitment to the Marion County Regional Institute for Higher Education after announcing their plan to get a no-interest loan has fallen through.
Mayor David Jackson said the city applied for a special no-interest loan through a state agency last year.
"We have been notified that we do not qualify for that program," he said.
The Kimball Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously late last week to solicit loan proposals from local banks to cover its commitment.
Officials said the bid specifications will require a 12-year term that will be paid annually with no early repayment penalty.
"It's a lot of money, but it's not a lot of money when we're talking about the future of our county," Jackson said. "Our young people will have a place to go to school without having to drive back and forth to Chattanooga."
City leaders committed the money for a sewer line extension to the site when the plan was first proposed years ago, but the sewer line is expected to cost only about $400,000.
"Whatever money is left over out of the $750,000 will go to the school for whatever we need to do," Jackson said.
The extra money could be used to add features to the first building on campus, which is under construction now, or to help fund a planned second building.
Alderman Mark Payne said Kimball's engineer has already planned for future development around the new school's campus, and that has been incorporated into the design of the sewer line extension.
"Somebody won't have to come back 20 years from now and spend another big bundle of money rehabbing it," he said. "We've already put the right thing in the ground today. We tried to look to the future on it."
Jackson said Kimball's $750,000 obligation to the project is a worthwhile venture.
"Our commitment helped the county get about $2.5 million [for the project]," he said. "We're investing in our kids and in our future."
Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.