The council amended a bond ordinance passed in 2005, when White performed and completed earlier work on installing a section of sewer line and made improvements to its water system. In the amount of approximately $331,000, the city is still paying on the bond, said City Attorney Boyd Pettit. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is loaning White the $2.8 million to finance part of the current project, required the city to pass an amended bond ordinance, he said.
“What they asked us to do was to do it as a supplemental ordinance by amendment and then we will have to go validate, which we would have to do anyway,” Pettit said after the meeting. “... Well, if you think about it, the reason we will go back and re-validate is because the amount is different. [By] increasing the amount we would have to go and validate the new debt.”
By approving the bond ordinance amendment, the project will pass on to the courts to validate the bonds, which will in turn allow construction to start. City Engineer John Sweitzer said the contractor was ready to go as soon as the bonds are validated.
Construction, Sweitzer said, could occur in mid or late July. At the latest, he added, it would begin in August.
The $2.8 million loan is coupled with a $969,700 grant from USDA to finance the construction. Sweitzer said construction has been delayed due to both the legal process of the bond ordinance and acquiring easements.
“The easement acquisition [became] involved because the city wanted to accommodate everyone who had given them easements to provide the easements exactly where they wanted them and how they wanted them,” he said. “So we went back and readjusted a number of the sewer lines — in some cases we went from the back of the property to the front of the property if that’s what the landowner requested.”
Prior to approving the ordinance amendment, the council had a moment of silence for Clayton Collins, a former city council member who passed away June 8.
“If you would, let’s have a moment in honor of Clayton Collins,” said Mayor Chris Allen. “He served for ... 20-something years on the council, and was a longtime citizen of White. So at this time I’m going to ask you for a moment of silence, please.”
Following the moment of silence, the council resumed its single-item agenda.
The next White City Council meeting is scheduled for Monday, July 7, at 7 p.m. at city hall.