published Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Kimball OKs sewer line, boat dock loans

The Kimball Park entrance crosses a rail line and never has been approved for public use.
Photo by Ryan Lewis
The Kimball Park entrance crosses a rail line and never has been approved for public use. Photo by Ryan Lewis

KIMBALL, Tenn. — City administrators have committed $750,000 to help build a sewer line for Marion County's career and technical school project, and they will borrow an additional $750,000 to construct a boat dock on the Tennessee River at Kimball Park.

The Kimball Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted unanimously recently to borrow $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development office to satisfy the city's commitment to the school and to build the dock.

Mayor David Jackson said the loans for each project could have been separated, but that would cost more in fees and the additional money might not be available to borrow later.

"The closer you get to September [the end of the federal fiscal year], the less likely it is that there will be funds available," he said.

The loan terms are 38 years at a 3.5 percent fixed interest rate with no penalties for early repayment.

The initial cost estimate of $720,000 for the dock includes construction of the dock, a two-acre lagoon, an access road and a gravel parking lot, officials said.

If the dock project costs less than the estimate or if the board decides not to pursue it, the city can pay back the leftover money to Rural Development without penalty, officials said.

The city has made the Tennessee Valley Authority aware of its interest in constructing the dock, Jackson said, but it has not submitted any permits to do so.

Alderman Johnny Sisk said a boat dock would be nice, but there are other things the city should finance.

"Not all of the citizens will use the boat dock, but they'll all pay for the boat dock," he said.

There are pros and cons to the dock debate, Jackson said.

"I think it would be a great asset to have down there to draw people to Kimball," he said. "People would be coming through to put their boats in [the river] and stopping to buy gas, food and stuff like that. But we do have to consider the financial status of the town."

Officials said borrowing only $750,000 would result in an annual payment of about $36,000, while borrowing $1.5 million would cost Kimball about $72,000 annually.

Paul Johnson, an auditor with Johnson, Murphey & Wright, said Kimball can afford to borrow the money.

"It's just a matter of asking if the town wants to obligate itself for 38 years," he said. "It's an unbelievably low rate."

Alderman Mark Payne said the board is going to have to come together and work hard to see the boat dock idea come to fruition.

"We're going to have to really beat our heads on the wall to make this thing happen," he said.

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