Council seeks state funds to upgrade pump stations
Thomasville City Council will jump through a couple more hoops Monday night as its quest to improve an aging infrastructure continues.
Council is expected to pass two resolutions that will bring the Chair City closer to obtaining key funds to upgrade a pair of pump stations. Both resolutions are for state dollars the city will use for rehabilitation projects at the East Davidson and Northside pump stations, two sites that have come under scrutiny for being outdated and prone to wastewater spills.
"We are excited about being closer to completing both pump stations with the passing of the two resolutions," Councilman Neal Grimes said. "We've had to go back and do something we didn't even know we were supposed to do. It's just part of the bureaucratic stuff you have to go through to qualify for any state funds."
Council will consider an adoption of resolution in support of a $730,113 Clean Water State Revolving Fund loan to be used at the East Davidson station. City Services Director Morgan Huffman said the resolution must be included with the loan application to the state. The remainder of the funds for the estimated $1.3 million project will come from an Clean Water Management Trust Fund pledge for $563,750, Huffman said.
Once funding is approved, the East Davidson pump station will receive two larger pumps to increase capacity, a power generator and revamped electrical controls for the system. Huffman said the city is asking for more money from the state because he thinks bids may come in higher than expected and he wants to avoid a scenario where additional funding and the ensuing paperwork is needed later.
"It is a ton of paperwork," said Huffman. "We're trying to be more realistic about our expected funding needs. We've all kind of reached the point where you show me the hoop and I'll jump."
A budget amendment is needed for the Northside Pump Station after initial bids came in unexpectedly higher than what was allocated. Huffman said the city negotiated a deal with Lenior-based Brushy Mountain Builders, but only after reducing the scope of the project. Council must pass a resolution of award to send to the state in order to receive an authority-to-award letter, which in turn allows the city to sign a contract with the Brushy Mountain Builders. The Northside project, which includes the installation of a backup power generator, replacement of the electrical controls at the station and bringing the ventilation system up to modern standards, is expected to cost $702,448. The project will be paid for through a Clean Water State Revolving Loan.
"We were able to reduce the price to where we could afford it," Huffman said. "We're having to do a budget amendment for the capital project ordinance to adjust the dollar figure. The heart of the project was to increase the reliability of the pump station and we'll be able to do that."
Councilwoman Pat Shelton said the infrastructure upgrades have been on the table for several years now. She is pleased that the Council is seeing its pledge to upgrade the city's infrastructure inch closer to fruition.
"It has taken a long time and I know the citizens of Thomasville are wondering why we can't just go ahead and do it," said Shelton. "The fact of the matter is we have to get the funding and the least expensive funding comes from the State Revolving Fund. They're making us go through different protocols.
“Every time we think we've got it finished. they bring up something else we need to redo. This is something that is many years in the making and we're trying to solve it in a shorter period of time and do it with the least possible expense to the citizens of Thomasville."
Monday's meeting start at 7 p.m. in Council chambers on the second floor of Thomasville Police Department, 7 W. Guilford St.
Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or firstname.lastname@example.org.