Columbus approves $377k engineering contract for water/sewer projects

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Town of Columbus approved a $377,345 engineering contract this month for its water and sewer projects downtown.

Columbus Town Council met Thursday, May 19 and approved the engineering contract with Municipal Engineering Services.

The town met with two engineers from Engineering Services.

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Both the USDA and town attorney Bailey Nager reviewed and approved the engineering contract.

Columbus is facing more than $2 million in needed water and sewer upgrades, including a new 500,000-gallon water storage tank, a new water supply line from the tank to the town’s water lines and rerouting the sewer line downtown that currently flows underneath some buildings.

During council’s May meeting, Columbus Mayor Eric McIntyre asked the engineers if they’d ever seen a town built over a sewer line like they did in Columbus. The engineers answered they hadn’t, but that they were going to fix that issue.

In April, the town signed a letter of conditions to apply for a USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) loan to finance the projects.

The funding from the USDA would include a $1,165,000 loan for 40 years at a 2.25 percent interest rate. Funding is also coming in the form of grants, including $300,000 from the ARC (Appalachian Regional Commission) and $505,000 from the USDA. The town plans to contribute $98,000 for the projects as well as paying back the loan.

The annual payment for the town on the loan is estimated at $44,480 over 40 years.

The town’s water tank is said to be at least 60 years old and some of the businesses where the sewer line runs underneath have been there at least 60 years, according to council.