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February 4, 2013

Water improvement project brings heavy county debate

MILLEDGEVILLE — Last week's county commission work session delved into a state water improvement loan designed to adequately serve dangerous system inadequacies. A cost analysis comparing the current Sinclair Water Authority (SCA) deal versus purchasing City of Milledgeville water will be completed.

According to Georgia Environmental Protection Division water standards, Baldwin County should purchase roughly 2.2 million gallons a day. 

Tim Ingram of Ingram & Associates Consulting Engineers, LLC said Thursday bill figures from 2011 to 2012 show the county water system short at 2 million gallons.

To address the system capacity shortage, the commissioners have approved a Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) Drinking Water State Revolving Fund for multiple improvement projects. The $5.2 million loan has a 3 percent interest rate with $500,000 of debt forgiveness if all funds are drawn.

Projects include construction of a 750,000 gallon elevated storage tank and water mains on Highway 212, a 2 million gallon ground storage tank on Hopewell Church Road and several booster pump stations.

Tim Ingram of Ingram & Associates Consulting Engineers, LLC explained Thursday the county's system never stays full, especially to the southern end. Customers nearing 5,000 require more capacity in that area.

Ingram said the city rate per 1,000 gallons spiked from $1.21 to $4.

Now, the SCA furnishes countywide.

GEFA loan and construction deadlines increase the stakes. The county must draw funds by April.

Ingram said his cost analysis would be complete by Tuesday's regular meeting of the Baldwin County commissioners at 6 p.m.

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