In order to receive a $2,805,000 loan coupled with a $969,700 grant from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA), Sweitzer said the U.S. Department of Agriculture required White to sign up 140 customers for its planned sewer system. The additional customers, along with current customers such as Toyo Tires and area subdivisions, should generate enough revenue from sewer fees to pay off the loan.
“GEFA is a state agency that provides interim financing and grants to local governments for infrastructure improvement,” said City Attorney Boyd Pettit. “A GEFA loan is like a construction loan when you build a house. The city applies for a temporary loan to finance the planning and construction of the sewer system. Then when the construction is complete, the USDA pays off the loan with its funds and the city makes payments to the USDA over a long term.”
Sweitzer told the council that he had recently discovered that GEFA requires a notice to proceed be issued within six months from Aug. 19 or the interest rate will jump by one percentage point.
“It’s really no big deal since it’s such a short-term loan,” Pettit said. “It is in the long term that you want to watch the rates.”
Still the deadline to issue a notice to proceed may prove problematic, Sweitzer said, because:
• he must finish and issue final engineering plans;
• Pettit must procure 35 to 40 private easements;
• the project must be advertised for bid for four weeks and;
• a contract must be awarded;
Those items must be complete within the six-month time frame.
In addition, the council was told the city must procure a permit at a cost of $4,750 from CSX railroad to bore a hole under its tracks to accommodate the improved sewer system.
White City Council will meet next Tuesday, Sept. 3, at 7 p.m.