The Jasper City Hall in downtown Jasper, Tenn.

JASPER, Tenn. — When Mayor Paul Evans first proposed buying an electronic message board to display local events at City Hall three years ago, city aldermen voted unanimously to approve the purchase.

At the time, Evans said he would solicit donations from local groups so no city money would be used.

"I think it's a good idea, personally," Alderman Steve Looney said.

A donation of $2,000 from the estate of Joseph Lasater was the first deposit into the fund, and since then Evans has raised almost $6,000 more to cover the nearly $17,000 cost of the sign.

Then donations began to dry up. In November 2014, the board voted to ask for proposals for the sign and use city money to pay the balance.

At the board's May meeting, Evans said he had gotten quotes from three sign companies and that the prices were "compatible with the exception of one."

He recommended the purchase of an LED message board from Locke Sign Co. in Rossville, Ga., for $16,898, which includes installation and a five-year warranty.

The board voted unanimously to approve the purchase.

"We already have close to $8,000 donated towards this project," Evans said. "What it would mean is having the town put in the balance, which is about $8,900."

He said the message board would be installed beneath an existing sign at Jasper City Hall.

"I think it would be a benefit to the town," Evans said. "We could put up all meetings and all local events that are coming up. There's money there [in the budget] to cover that. It definitely won't put us in a bind in any way."

City officials said they would consider placing a plaque at City Hall honoring all those who donated to the sign once it's installed.

Evans said when that happens, he expects to get more donations for it.

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at