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The South Pittsburg City Hall building is seen on Tuesday, July 14, 2015, in South Pittsburg, Tenn.

SOUTH PITTSBURG, Tenn. — City leaders in South Pittsburg have identified a serious mold issue at the town's city hall.

At the South Pittsburg City Commission's October meeting, City Administrator Gene Vess said the mold problem has gotten so bad, city hall workers have had to dispose of some furniture because they couldn't clean it sufficiently.

"It's gotten pretty well out of control," he said.

Vess solicited bids for remediation and repairs recently.

The low bid for the work was $17,395 from Goss Services in Signal Mountain, Tennessee, and the board voted unanimously to approve it.

Vess said the mold runs through the main office and into his office.

On the other side of one wall in that office is a closet in the South Pittsburg Housing Authority's offices, which contains an air conditioning system for that building.

"The condensation just about knocked me down," Vess said. "We think, as best we can tell, all of the problems with the mold is right in that area."

He said another $500 could be added on to the cost because a separate contractor would have to clean the nearby duct work.

One meeting attendee asked why at least some of the costs couldn't be passed on to the housing authority since the problem appears to be originating there.

"We've got to make sure, officially, that's where it's coming from first," Mayor Samantha Rector said.

She said it is a "pretty good possibility" South Pittsburg would seek compensation from that organization, eventually.

In other business, Vess said he has done a "lousy job" taking care of South Pittsburg "as far as its money."

"I didn't know how lousy I'd done until today," he said.

Vess said the town should be at about 25 percent of its fiscal year's budget, but it's at about 33 percent right now.

"We've got to do a better job on the budget [until] at least December," he said.

He warned department heads that they'd "have it rough" over the next fiscal quarter with funding requests.

"You're going to hear a lot of no's," he told them.

The town has only taken in about 16 percent of its expected revenues at this point, Vess said, which is compounding the problem.

The more-than-$17,000 price tag for mold removal at city hall certainly doesn't help either, he said.

"We'll catch up," Vess said. "I don't want to paint a negative picture because we are doing good. It's just that we've got to play a catch-up phase here now."

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

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