- Paris Flash
- Real Estate
By CHARLES RICHARDS
Mayor AJ Hashmi says he is excited about a 10-year proposal for Paris unveiled by an engineering firm to replace the city’s aging underground water and sewer lines.
Officials of KSA Engineering met last week with city manager John Godwin and city staff, then met later with him, the mayor said.
“It was a beautiful meeting, and they have a very comprehensive plan,” Hashmi said.
The company, which has completed infrastructure projects in many Texas cities, proposed spending a year coming up with a comprehensive plan “covering water lines, sewer lines, streets, parks – everything,” Hashmi said.
The plan itself “would be a huge document – this thick,” the mayor said, holding one hand about 12 inches over the other. “It would be a yearly plan so that once the plan is finished you can take out the year 2015 to see what they would be doing then.”
Asked what the engineering firm would charge for the initial study, Hashmi said, “They haven’t given us an exact number, but I suspect it will cost in the $200,000 range to do the plan.”
As for the total cost, the mayor said, “You know, the sky is the limit. But I am going to say somewhere between $50 million and $75 million is what it would cost to put us in very good shape over a 10-year period.”
Like many cities, Paris has a deteriorating infrastructure. Many of the city’s water and sewer lines – especially inside Loop 286 – were laid decades ago, and leaks are a major problem and continuing expense.
Under its proposal by KSA Engineering, it would be in charge of the construction rather than the city staff as Godwin proposed in his 2012-2013 budget for the City of Paris.
In the 2012-2013 budget, the city manager proposed $1.7 million in new infrastructure in the coming year — $600,000 for new water lines, $600,000 for new sewer lines, and $400,000 to $500,000 for improvements at the water plant and at the sewer plant.
Godwin proposed to use city staff for the work, with construction to begin in a few weeks, soon after the Oct. 1 start of the new fiscal year.
While approving the city manager’s recommendations, the council asked Godwin to hold off on infrastructure work until the council gives him the go-ahead.
So far, KSA Engineering has met only with the city staff and with the mayor. The city council would have to sign off on the proposal before it could proceed, Hashmi noted.
“Obviously, they have to go to the council, and the council and the residents of the city will get a complete description of what the company is about and how comprehensive their plan is. Then the council can sit and decide what it wants to do.”
Also, one or more other engineering firms would be invited in, the mayor said, “and we’ll see whose product is better. … It’s going to be an expensive project, and it will have to be bid out. You cannot just give it to a company.”
At a total projected cost between $50 million and $75 million, the city would be spending approximately between $5 million and $7.5 million a year over the 10-year period.
“But you have to remember that the whole $5 million is not spent on the first day. You have a whole year to spend a lot of money,” Hashmi said.
“And the thing is, their plan is a comprehensive plan so that if Year 10 requires spending $10 million, and Year 6 requires spending $5 million, and Year 4 requires spending $4 million, you could pick out the year that you want, based on how your funding is going,” the mayor said.
“You just open that task up and start from there and keep going,” he said.
In August, the council went along with the mayor’s suggestion to create a seven-member citizens advisory committee, with each council member naming a member.
Among other things, the committee, which has not yet been appointed, would recommend which projects should occur first.
“The seven people on the committee, plus the city staff, plus the city planner, will sit and have meetings with (the engineering firm) to decide where we start. Clearly, the biggest need is in Districts 1 and 2,” Hashmi said.
District 1 generally comprises the northeast part of the central city, while District 2 generally comprises the northwest part of the city inside the loop.
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Image Source: www.paristexas.gov