The City of Paris accepted a bid for the waterline improvement project that will take place from north and south under elm street to south of the square in Paris.

The line replacement is approximately one mile long and will move the line out from under the street and into the right of way on the east side of S. Elm.

"The water line is approximately 90 years old and breaks regularly draining the tanks at times. And because of its location, under South Elm, causes the city to dig up the street for repairs," said Paris Mayor Daniel Rogers.

Mayor Rogers said that earlier in the year at the State of the City Address, he spoke of his desire to see the city appropriate 100k annually to new water and sewer line improvements. The line improvement would allow the city a significant infrastructure upgrade to implement a plan in moving forward by starting annual upgrades branching off of this new line.

The original bid, by engineers, was estimated at $750k in 2014, but the more recent proposal was estimated at $826,627, from NLS Construction out of Rose Bud, Arkansas, which will include the major water plant improvements and will replace the key components to the plant.

"The biggest[improvement] being a new clearwell, which stores the treated water before it is distributed out. Our current clearwells are not adequate moving forward due to their age."

Mayor Daniel said that the current clearwells would be taken out of service and demolished upon completion.

Another major piece to the water plant upgrade is a new clarifier. The new clarifier will be a completely new third clarifier that the city has never had while keeping the other two in service.

"It will allow us in time to totally rehab the other two as needed without any concerns of being down. Lots of old pumps will be updated; these are major improvements to the plant, which will have us in great shape long-term moving forward."

According to Rogers, in 2014, the plant's engineering estimate was 2.7 million, but more recently, the bid opened at over 3.8 million to CDI Construction out of Little Rock.

"The USDA Rural Development low-interest loan we acquired only funded 3.5 million dollars worth of work. So the city council will be meeting this week to discuss how they will pay for the overages."

Rogers said that these projects are essential improvements for the city water system and the water plant improvements are an absolute must.

"We will discuss and come up with a solution this week; we will pay for the loan payment through water sales, which are also boosted by the one-cent sales tax that was approved in 2013."

To make the long term improvements the city needs in both water and sewer, Rogers said he believes the city will have to look at an increase in water and sewer rates.

"Rate increases haven't been changed in over 25 years. Without the sales tax, rates would have been much higher years ago."

Paris was able to make contracts that sold less water, with Scranton being the largest outside user, buying 140 million gallons of water a year, and Paris selling them 300 million gallons at one time, a sales revenue hit.

"That, combined with the electric sales loss we took with AAM, has hurt [the city] financially. We have Cloyes back, but they aren't close to buying the amount of power AAM bought from us."

Rogers said overall, a rate increase will more than likely have to be looked at moving forward. The new waterline work will begin this summer once bids are awarded and will be a six-month job.

The new plant project will have a timeline of a year and a half.