PICKENS COUNTY, Ga. — After receiving bids for the Water Pollution Control Plant expansion and sewerage system improvements project, the Jasper City Council approved the redistribution of ARPA funding and a reapplication for additional USDA funding. The unexpectedly high bids left the city over $11,000,000 short of the total funding necessary to complete the projects, according to Assistant City Manager Kim Goldener.
Assistant City Manager Kim Goldener discussed bids received for the WPCP expansion and a sewerage system improvements project. “Unfortunately, the bids came back significantly higher than, I think, anyone was anticipating,” Goldener told the council, “but these are needed. It’s a needed project. We must do this work.” She read the low bids for the plant expansion and sewer system improvements project that totaled $14,051,781.52 and $3,197,632, respectively.
While the city will enter renegotiations on the sewer system improvements project, Goldener said “we do need to go to USDA, though, and ask for additional funding.” She explained that the current funding the city has received, whether in grants or loans, is over $11,000,000 short of the necessary funding to complete the project. Goldener did say, however, that number will decrease after the city’s redistribution of ARPA funding.
In an earlier discussion, City Manager Sonia Jammes explained to the council that the city was set to receive $1,484,036 from The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) that was passed in 2021. She further explained that the city would receive the funding in two portions, with the first, totaling $742,018, being received in October 1, 2021. Jammes said the initial funding was originally approved for an automated metering project, but the council had decided to designate metering as a service. Because the ARPA money is no longer set to be used for the project, the council voted to redistribute it towards the upcoming Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP) expansion.
The city will also reapply for additional funding from the Department of Agriculture, Goldener said, before interest rates are set to increase on July 1, 2022. She explained that additional funding received by the USDA is typically provided as a loan, but added the USDA has said “they will look at what additional amount, if any, could possibly be given as grants, because they know that this additional amount will be a burden.” The city council approved both the tentative award of contracts for the WPCP expansion and sewerage system improvement project, as well as the resolution allowing the reapplication.
During the June 6 meeting, Assistant Police Chief Mike Davis was sworn in by Police Chief Matt Dawkins. Chief Dawkins then introduced the new Assistant Chief to the council, calling him a great addition to the City of Jasper. Dawkins also noted that Davis has 21 years of experience in law enforcement and has worked with both East Ellijay and Fannin County. The council also oversaw the recognition of Greg Buchanan who recently received his GED, and approved a $15,400 payment to A&S Environmental Services to explore the possibility of additional groundwater wells in the city.