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Lagoon project to be rebid

By Michael Butler

The numbers have escalated on estimates for the planned upgrades at the Tallassee Sewer Lagoon or wastewater treatment plant - and by such a large scale that the city is having to reevaluate its strategy to complete the work.

"They came to us with a bid of $17 million," mayor Sarah Hill said. "Our grant was $4.5 million."

Initial approximations were far less.

"We have record inflation," said Hill. "Talking to the engineers, they're seeing 200-300 percent more. We're not going to pull the trigger on $17 million. I've asked CDG to go back to the drawing board."

Hill hopes that scaling back the project will drop the price tag to a more managable figure.

Among the dollars received to assist include a $2.4 million federal grant form the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration. Ad valorem taxes may also be used for infrastructure upgrades.

"Councilman (Bill) Godwin brought up a good point," Hill said. "He said there's no reason to have a Cadillac when we can have a Chevy and move forward."

The city can not ignore that improvements have to be made regardless.

"We do have to do it. We are under a consent order," she added. "We're looking for the most efficient and economical way."