On Monday, the Surgoinsville Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved the second and final reading of an ordinance that requires homes or businesses within proximity of the town’s new proposed sewer to hook on to the system.
The hookup cost is yet to be determined, but Greer said the city is “committed to keep it low.”
Mayor Johnny Greer told the Times-News on Wednesday that low-income homes will receive free installation, and other customers will have the opportunity make installments with their monthly bills.
The initial project involves a trunk line beginning at the Surgoinsville middle and elementary schools and replacing the aging wastewater treatment plant that serves both schools.
The trunk line will extend east through downtown Surgoinsville along Main Street to the Phipps Bend Industrial Park and then into the Church Hill Sewer Treatment Plant on the Holston River.
Along the way, approximately 300 customers will be hooked up to the system during the initial construction phase.
“If it bids low, we’re hoping we can afford to hook up more,” Greer said. “The bulk of the homes that will be hooked up in the initial phase are along Main Street, a neighborhood called “The Hill,” and the “Friendly Town” neighborhood.”
Greer added, “We’ve got quite a bit of public relations work to do in the next two months, but the folks who will be affected by this project will be notified of what they need to know before things get into full swing.”
If the project is advertised for bids by early August, a bid could be approved by the city as soon as September or October. Construction would begin within 90 days of the bid being approved, and construction is expected to take a little more than a year.
Greer said there aren’t many things standing in the way of the project continuing smoothly on schedule.
“We’ve got some easements to get and a few more permits that have to be taken care of,” Greer said. “There were a handful of permits to get from the railroad, T-DOT, and environmental, but the bulk of them are already in hand.”
The project is being paid for with as combination of grant and loan funds.
Surgoinsville received a $500,000 federal grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission; a $500,000 state Community Development Block Grant; $200,000 contributed by Hawkins County Schools; $485,000 in “special appropriations” from the state; a USDA grant/loan combination of $1.3 million; and a final loan of approximately $530,000 to complete the project.
All of the loans are expected to be paid off in 40 years.
“We’ve done a lot of work on this, and hopefully nothing is going to derail us at this late stage,” Greer said. “This is big for Surgoinsville. Most towns got their sewer problem out of the way 50, 60, 70 years ago. Surgoinsville is just now getting there.”