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story.lead_photo.caption File photoHolts Summit hopes to start construction on its sewer project this spring.

HOLTS SUMMIT — The Holts Summit Board of Aldermen voted unanimously Thursday to begin advertising for construction bids for the city’s sewer project.

Holts Summit has been trying to update its sewer system for years. Now, it looks like the city is back on track to meet a hard deadline from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

If Holts Summit doesn’t award a bid on the project by April 29, it could lose the funding DNR has agreed to contribute to the project.

“The reason this process is so fragile is we’re getting funding from DNR worth $500,000,” City Administrator Hanna Lechner said. “Their deadline is April. If we don’t go to bid by April, we will lose that funding.”

The city will hold an open meeting March 5 to present the bids received. At their March 10 meeting, aldermen will award the bid.

In addition to the money from DNR, $4.82 million of the project is being funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant; the city of Holts Summit is contributing $300,000. The city hopes to get an additional $1,379,400 from the USDA.

The project linking the city’s wastewater management system to Jefferson City will involve replacing an old treatment facility with a new pump station, laying 6-8 miles of pressured sewer line and connecting 102 houses to the system.

“We asked for additional funding, and so that hasn’t been decided yet,” Lechner said. “They want to go to bid and see what companies think is necessary to complete the project.”

The project has dragged on since 2013.

Every step of the project needs approval from the USDA. Another reason for the lengthy process is that the people working on the project keep changing — in Holts Summit and at the USDA.

“When you change administration, they have to get up to speed,” Lechner said. “It’s like the process starts over.”

Lechner is the city’s fifth city administrator since the project started. She said the USDA contact has also changed several times.

“No one is allowed to leave at this point,” Lechner joked.

During the Board of Aldermen’s Jan. 14 meeting, Lechner expressed concerns about the approaching deadline.

“My plan is to pester and pester and pester the USDA to make sure that we continue to get this ball rolling so that we can meet this deadline,” Lechner said at the meeting.

Now Lechner is more confident about the project’s progress.

“We are going to meet that deadline,” she said.

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