DARLINGTON, SC (WMBF) - A $1.7 million project is on delay in Darlington and people are worried about when the stormwater drains in their neighborhood will be fixed.
City of Darlington officials said they now have to work with engineers to scale back the stormwater project because of budget constraints and the magnitude of the work.
The Darlington City Council rejected the two bids that came in on Tuesday that were submitted at more than 20 and 50 percent over projected estimates.
City council members approved the bond at no more than $1.4 million through the stormwater fee that everyone pays monthly. The rural infrastructure grant from the state is $445,000.
Officials said the city can't pay for overages. Two years ago, the issue was brought to light when neighbors started to complain about the foul smell.
The storm drain project stretches through several blocks, mainly along Chalmers, Harllee, Anhow and Coker streets, and neighbors agree the smell is the biggest problem. They are concerned about how long it is taking to fix.
"I've been here 30-some years and it's been a problem ever since I've been here," said Betty Mack, who lives next to the ditch on Chalmers Street. "It's very serious, very, very serious. It's not something to play with. I mean, it's bad for your health, actually. That's why I was hoping they would get started soon."
When Mack heard the stormwater project was happening, she was very happy.
"I was thinking maybe everything was going to go through and I heard it was delayed, and that kind of bothered me," she said. "And it made me start thinking, 'When are they going to start and what's going to happen?'"
City leaders want to make it clear to people the project is not a sewer issue; it's solely a stormwater drain project and they had to ask for permission to service the ditch or put a pipe at 38 different properties.
The city will accept additional bids on Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 2 p.m. Following that, a special 6 p.m. meeting will be held to review the bids and hopefully accept one.