KIMBALL, Tenn.-After months of wrangling over the details of a proposal to upgrade Jasper's wastewater treatment plant, city leaders have agreed on a contract to begin the collaborative effort.
Recently, Kimball officials found several problems with the original proposed agreement to upgrade the facility to a capacity of 1.5 million gallons a day. The project will cost an estimated $5.7 million, officials said.
Kimball City Attorney Billy Gouger said the final draft was approved by the Jasper Board of Mayor and Aldermen in February and includes all of the changes Kimball requested.
Officials said the changes include a specific gallon allocation for each town and a statement of Jasper's existing debt on the plant.
Gouger said an "escape clause" also was added to the final draft.
"[The escape clause] would apply in two situations," he said. "One would be if the [Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation] doesn't permit a sewer treatment plant as large as what the cities have contemplated. It would also apply if the grant funding is not available for the project for any reason."
All of Kimball's concerns on the language in the contract were addressed, Gouger said, and some may even be more than what Kimball wanted.
"The language inserted is very strong compared to what Kimball was seeking," he said. "If the financing is not totally to Kimball's satisfaction, they simply have the right to cancel the contract."
Kimball's board unanimously approved the final draft Thursday.
Kimball Mayor David Jackson said now that both boards have signed off, officials can start worrying over government funding.
"I'd say the biggest issue on this project is going to be the availability of funding," he said. "Of course, we know a lot of government funding is going to be cut back. We are concerned that the funding is just not going to be there, but we just don't know."
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