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Kimball Mayor Rex Pesnell, left, presents David Jackson with a plaque in this Sept. 4, 2014, file photo.

KIMBALL, Tenn. -- City leaders know a new sewer lift station is needed on Nelson Lane, but they just aren't sure the town can afford it this year.

Anthony Pelham, an engineer with James C. Hailey & Co. in Nashville, estimates the project will cost $54,500, with a total budget of $67,000 for contingencies.

"In our previous discussions, we were guessing a little bit less than that," Mayor Rex Pesnell said.

The Kimball Board of Mayor and Aldermen examined the city's budget in case the proposed project's costs were higher than expected, he said, but Pelham's estimates are far above the original $45,000 assessment.

"Due to budget constraints, we may not be able to [complete this project]," Pesnell said.

The updated estimate includes a spare pump that would serve as a backup for the new lift station and for one recently installed on Van Hoosier Circle, Pelham said.

The low bid for that project was $35,000, but since it was a new construction, there was no need to quickly switch it over from an old pump station.

Pelham said his updated project cost for the new lift station adds the need for that quick "switchover" from the old station to the new and provides fencing for security. Those weren't included in his original figures.

"We want to minimize that downtime, so that as we completely build this one, it will be in service and the old one will be out of service in a matter of minutes," he said. "I think [the bids] will come in lower. I think it's a conservative estimate."

Pelham said the current sewer pump and accompanying wet well are "really dilapidated."

"They're in operation. It's not just a complete failure right now, but it's truly on its last legs," he said.

Pesnell said the town should put the project out for bid, and once those bids are opened, "make a decision then whether we do or don't [move forward] depending on what our budget constraints are."

The board voted unanimously to allow Pesnell to sign the needed documents for the project's permit approval and to put it out for bid.

City officials will open the bids on March 26 at 4 p.m. CDT. If the board chooses to fund the new lift station, it will award the project to a contractor at its next regular meeting on April 2 at 6 p.m. CDT.

"It's a very competitive market out there, so I expect to get good competition and good bids," Pelham said.

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryanlewis34@gmail.com.

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