Sewer Plant "Stink" in High Springs
It's like pouring salt in an open wound.
What some in High Springs call a "cover up" by some city leaders, may cost the city $1.6 million towards a sewer project. However, before city commissioners discussed appealing a federal agency's decision to withdraw those funds, they learned of another major change.
Tv20's Kristin Giannas obtained a letter between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Senator Bill Nelson regarding the sewer project in High Springs.
The final, $10 million phase of the project is now on hold, according to the USDA, which grants the funds.
"If funding is withdrawn from the USDA, there's no way we can continue with the final phases," said Eric May, a High Springs City Commissioner, who added TV20 "dropped the bomb" on him.
"Again this is the first time I've seen anything like this," he said.
He's talking about the letter, dated October 26, addressed to Senator Bill Nelson regarding the high springs sewer project.
The USDA makes it clear, the final phases are on hold.
"We've never gotten any indication that phases beyond this were in the least bit of trouble," he said.
The feds want a "wastewater system rate schedule, and operating budget" that supports "financial viability" of the project. In other words, they question whether the city can afford to pay its share.
Mayor Larry Travis says he's read the letter, and the city can afford the project.
"If you look at all the numbers we can, if you look at all the people who were supposed to be hooked up, when the system was complete, you can make that work," he said.
Despite what the USDA says, Travis asserts he'll make it work.
"Hopefully we'll be able to do that, we may not be if they stop it, the people who are already on the system are going to be paying a lot more because you can't take the infrastructure out of the ground," he said.
May says he's frustrated TV20 brought this to his attention, instead of another member of the commission. Which may look a little different after next week's city elections.
May says whoever fills the two seats up for grabs, is inheriting a mess.
"If they're withdrawing the final phases, phases four and five, then yes, absolutely, we're going to be in a world of trouble," he said.
City commissioners voted to appeal the USDA's decision to take back the $1.6 million in funding for the sewer project.
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