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City leaders push back on Hernandez's desal assessment

Posted at 12:21 AM, Aug 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-22 01:21:52-04

As the Corpus Christi City Council prepares to vote next week on whether to accept a loan to build a desalination plant, city leaders want to clear up confusion about the project.

Thursday, District 5 City Councilman Gil Hernandez told KRIS 6 News he opposes the deal because the city only received one cost estimate.

Other city leaders say that receiving one engineer's estimate is common practice, and the city expects offers from several firms once the project is out for bid.

Hernandez also said he believes the plant will cost more than the projected $222 million.

District 4 City Councilman Greg Smith, however, said that estimate actually is conservative.

"We've been briefed at council about what that number is individually, and looking at comparable plants across the world, it's probably a kind of high estimate," he said. "I would expect the actual number to come in lower than that."

If approved, the city will borrow the money from the Texas Water Development Board as part of the TWDB's State Water Implementation Fund for Texas -- SWIFT.