JASPER, Tenn.—City leaders have altered a proposed agreement with Kimball, Tenn., leaders to advance a collaborative effort to upgrade Jasper's ailing wastewater treatment plant.
Jasper officials now will wait to see if the change meets with Kimball officials' approval.
Recently, Kimball's board refused to sign the agreement because no specific wastewater treatment capacity numbers were listed in it.
Jasper Mayor Billy Simpson said that, after he spoke with city attorney Zach Kelly and other officials, he could understand Kimball's point.
"They are in this 50/50 with us," he said. "They went ahead and agreed with everything in the original agreement except that there were no capacities listed. The only difference in this agreement and the original agreement is the capacity. In this agreement, Jasper has 1 million [gallons per day] in capacity and Kimball has a half-million [gallons per day]."
Simpson said the proposed project already is behind schedule, and he's anxious to move ahead.
Jasper Alderman Paul Evans said any disagreements between the boards could be settled more quickly if the groups met face to face.
"I think the thing to do as a board would be to meet with their board," he said. "It's our decision. We're held responsible, and we should be a part of the process. I think both boards need to sit down together and make sure we're on the same page."
"I definitely think we need to come to a mutual agreement with Kimball," Jasper Alderman Leon Rash said. "I think it's very important that [Jasper] and Kimball agree on everything. I don't think there's going to be a problem doing that, and from my standpoint, there won't be."
Even though Jasper has agreed to put specific capacity numbers in the updated agreement, Gary Cosby of CTI Engineers Inc. said they are not guaranteed.
He said the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation told those involved that it would increase the permit flow from Jasper to whatever would be justified.
"Ultimately, we will have to turn in engineering calculations to TDEC and Rural Development that will justify those flows," Cosby said. "So, right now, we're shooting for those flows, but we have to go through all the calculations. I know we're putting numbers in here, but the calculations will have to be justified."
Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.