The Greenville City Council intends Tuesday to award bids for projects designed to ensure adequate water pressure to the rapidly developing southern side of the city.

But the price tag for the plan to build a new water storage tower and new water lines along Center Point Lane could have Council members taking a big gulp, as the overall project is more than $600,000 over budget and will come in at around $4 million.

The Council is scheduled to take votes award bids for the water and lines, and to hire an independent inspector for the project, during Tuesday’s regular session, starting at 6 p.m. in the Municipal Building, 2821 Washington Street. A work session is also set for 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Designs for the 1.2 million gallon tower were completed some two years ago, but no funding was available at that time. The original estimate for the project, including two water trunk lines, came to about $3.4 million.

The City Council approved $3.1 million in bonds in October, with additional funding coming from unspent bond proceeds left over from other water system projects.

Bids for the project were received in January and came in sharply higher than had been predicted, due to the increases in the cost for materials, to the tune of $604,000. The total cost is now expected to come close to $4.05 million.

Before the Council can award the bids for the work itself, it has to vote to amend the current city budget, taking the extra funds from surpluses of other recently completed water system projects; including the Caddo Trunk line, the wastewater reclamation center and the Dent Road/Center Point Lane infrastructure.

A bid of just over $1 million would then be awarded to B Bray Construction of Paris for the two new, 16-inch water mains, with a bid of $2.8 million going toward going to Landmark Structures of Fort Worth for the tower itself.

The Council would then consider hiring the firm of Freese and Nichols, at a cost of $72,500, to conduct inspection services for the project.

City officials have said the tower and water lines are needed to help address water pressure problems in the growing commercial area around the Interstate 30/Wesley Street intersection, as well as the needs of the several housing developments underway to the south.

The LaQuinta Inn and Suites opened in 2005 and a Hampton Inn and Suites is also under construction. The Sandor Development Company is planning to add a new strip shopping center between Home Depot and Wal-Mart and hundreds of new homes have been planned for the areas further to the south.

Once construction begins it will take approximately 18 months to complete the project.

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