Resolutions to pay half of the local match and to remove a section from the sewer reimbursement agreement between the city and the county were passed during Tuesday’s voting session.
The resolutions were packaged as a substitute motion and passed 10 to 3 in favor of the motion. Commissioner Mark Hall was absent.
Second District Commissioner Connie Wilson said the resolutions basically agree to the plan that the city adopted at its last meeting. According to the resolution, current estimates put the county’s portion at $999,135.00. The resolution that removes section eight of sewer reimbursement waives the county’s request for reimbursement for sewer development.
“I think we’ve come this far on a $6 million project. I would hate for $40,000 to slow this thing down, (since) the city has basically agreed to pay this 50/50 with us,” 3rd District Commissioner Jeff Morelock said.
Amending the resolution to have the amount capped at $40,000 rather than remove section eight of the agreement was discussed. City manager Janice Casteel told the Commission the total amount the county would ever be reimbursed for the line in question was $40,000. The county has already received a portion of expected reimbursement from previous annexation by the city. Current annexation plans account for $31,800 of this, she said.
Anticipated reimbursement for the sewer line had not been incorporated into the budget, according to Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis.
Some commissioners did not support the resolution because they wanted the county to receive reimbursement as previously agreed.
“I don’t feel like us not approving the motion to forego the $40,000 could stand in the way of the project ...,” Elkins said.
The sewer agreement was made in June 2009, well before talk of the Whirlpool project began. Fifth District Commissioner Jeff Yarber said he would like to see the issues kept separate if possible. He feared such a move might set a precedent for future agreements. Fourth District commissioner J. Adam Lowe said past agreements will always be considered when making future ones.
“The city is helping us finance what we would not be able to do otherwise,” 7th District Commissioner Bill Winters said. “What we are benefiting from is being able to do this at this point in time rather than wait two or three years.”
Finance committee members have discussed the issue of how to pay the county’s portion since November, when estimates came in higher than expected and the city said it would only split the cost of right of way acquisition within the city. In the numerous meetings since, multiple options have been discussed. The city’s plan to annex the area of the projects and split the cost with the county was first discussed at a meeting of the First Alert committee.
The city plans to annex the portions of Durkee Road and Benton Pike and the Michigan Avenue Road intersection that will be a part of the project. This allows the city to stick to a previous resolution stating it will only fund half of what is in the city, and still help fund the entire project.
The county’s portion of the project will be borrowed by the city along with money for the land for the industrial park.