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State loans Paulding $21 million for reservoir
by Adam Elrod
aelrod@neighbornewspapers.com
September 10, 2013 05:03 PM | 1525 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Paulding County recently received a $21.6 million state loan, which moves it closer to starting construction on a reservoir to provide a new county drinking water source.

The Georgia Environmental Finance Authority awarded the loan to the county Aug. 27, according to a news release from the authority.

This will help finance the 305-acre Richland Creek Reservoir, which is estimated to cost a total of $86.4 million. The county also received $29.1 million from the authority last year when it dispensed its Governor’s Water Supply Program loans.

Paulding Water Systems Director Michael Carter said the county plans to apply for next year’s round of loans from the authority.

Carter said the county feels more comfortable receiving the funds through a state loan because, “this allows the county to maintain 100 percent control of the project.”

Other sources of possible funding would be bonds or private funding. However, Carter said he doubted the county would seek private funding because some private investors try to control how a project is built, he said.

The authority wants to make it possible for communities to be able to build their projects, said Shane Hix, the authority’s public affairs director.

“We try and meet the community’s needs on the financial side,” Hix said.

The loan is for 30 years with 0 percent interest for the first three years to account for a three-year construction period.

Then it becomes 1 percent interest for the remaining time of construction, and 1.4 percent for the remaining repayment period.

Carter said there is no funding source with rates close to the authority’s interest rates.

The county applied for funding for the water treatment plant part of the project, but is not required to use it only on the plant, he said.

“It is allowed to be used for any portion of this project,” he said.

Carter said he is hoping to have the preliminary engineering for the reservoir done by the end of the year. After it is complete they will have a financial analysis to forecast the exact cost of the project to tell them the best way to fund the balance of the project. The analysis should be started in early 2014, he said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has not approved permitting for the reservoir.

The corps is asking the county to complete a hydrologic model to see how the reservoir, the Russell Creek Reservoir and the Indian Creek Reservoir will affect the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa River Basin.

“[The model is] the last piece of information the corps is asking for the project,” Carter said.

Gov. Nathan Deal has supported sending a letter of support to the corps, but Paulding’s congressional delegation has yet to send a signed letter to them. County officials have been asking for the letter since February.

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