ARRA Helps Georgia Fund 7 Water and Sewer Projects

The Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA) earlier this month approved project loans totaling almost $5.7 million for seven water, and sewer infrastructure projects. Five of the projects were either fully or partially financed by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) at a total of almost $3 million.

“The federal water and sewer programs administered by GEFA assist local governments with improving their environmental infrastructure,” said GEFA Executive Director Phil Foil. “Financing water and sewer projects encourages economic growth and the stewardship of our environment.”

Foil expressed appreciation to Gov. Sonny Perdue, Georgia’s Congressional delegation and the members of the General Assembly for their support. He credited Perdue’s commitment to helping Georgia cities and counties finance infrastructure development as one of the main contributors to GEFA’s success.

“The projects that we agreed to finance today illustrate how GEFA helps communities of all sizes, in all areas of the state,” said Matt Beasley, chair of the GEFA board of directors and mayor of the city of Hartwell. “From the smallest of communities to the largest, GEFA is investing in communities that are willing to invest in themselves.

GEFA helps communities prepare for economic growth and development through the provision of low-interest loans. The Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) is a federal loan program administered by GEFA for wastewater infrastructure and water pollution abatement projects. Eligible projects include a wide variety of stormwater and wastewater collection and treatment projects. The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) is a federal loan program administered by GEFA for water infrastructure projects. Eligible projects include public health-related water supply construction.

Under the ARRA financing terms adopted by the GEFA board of directors, cities or counties that are OneGeorgia-eligible qualify for a 70 percent subsidy. Cities or counties that are not OneGeorgia-eligible qualify for a 40 percent subsidy. Cities or counties with eligible green projects qualify for a 60 percent subsidy. For example, if a OneGeorgia-eligible community applies for a $1 million loan, then 70 percent of the loan will be forgiven, up to a maximum of $700,000, subject to the loan contract provisions. The community will close on a loan of up to $300,000 at a three percent interest rate. OneGeorgia-eligible communities are located outside the state’s metropolitan areas and have a population of 50,000 or less with a poverty rate of 10 percent or greater.

Georgia local governments expressed a tremendous amount of interest in the ARRA funds. Cities and counties submitted more than 1,600 clean water, drinking water and green projects with a total cost exceeding $6 billion. Total available funding for projects through the ARRA is $144 million. Funding is obligated to projects on a first-come-first-served basis.

Details about the seven loans follow:

Financed through ARRA, the Douglasville-Douglas County Water and Sewer Authority was approved for a green project through CWSRF. The loan of $120,000 and a CWSRF subsidy of $180,000 were approved to fund a rebate program to replace inefficient residential toilets with water-conserving units. The total project cost is $300,000 with GEFA providing the entire amount. Consistent with GEFA’s ARRA financing terms for green projects, 60 percent (up to a maximum of $180,000) of the principal will be forgiven, subject to the loan contract provisions. The authority will pay 3 percent interest on the loan portion, up to a maximum of $120,000, for 20 years.

Elbert County was approved for a DWSRF loan of $1,500,000 to help finance the establishment of a public water system. The county will pay 3 percent interest on the 20-year loan. The total project cost is $1,500,000 with GEFA providing the entire amount.

The City of Ila was approved for a DWSRF loan of $400,000 and a subsidy of $400,000 to help finance water system improvements including development of a well, water main replacement, new meters and the replacement and repair of fire hydrants. The city will pay no interest on the 20-year loan. The total project cost is $800,000 with GEFA providing the entire amount.

Financed through the ARRA, Paulding County was approved for a green project through the CWSRF. The loan of $660,000 and a CWSRF subsidy of $990,000 were approved to install a reuse-water main, construct a pump station and chlorinator, and convert a concrete tank to a reuse-water storage tank. The total project cost is $1,785,000 with the Paulding County Renewal and Extension Fund providing $135,000. Consistent with GEFA’s ARRA financing terms for green projects, 60 percent (up to a maximum of $990,000) of the principal will be forgiven, subject to the loan contract provisions. The city will pay 3 percent interest on the loan portion, up to a maximum of $660,000, for 20 years.

Pickens County was approved for a DWSRF loan of $995,000 which includes $615,000 financed through the ARRA. The ARRA portion of the loan includes a DWSRF subsidy of $246,000. The loan and subsidy will help finance the construction of a 500,000-gallon elevated water storage tank. GEFA’s commitment also includes $380,000 financed by a regular DWSRF loan. Consistent with GEFA’s ARRA financing terms for communities that are not OneGeorgia-eligible, 40 percent ($246,000) of the principal on the ARRA portion of the loan will be forgiven and the city will pay 3 percent interest on a 20-year loan of $369,000. The non-ARRA DWSRF loan of $380,000 that finances the remainder of the project is also a 20-year loan with a 3 percent interest rate. The total project cost is $995,000 with GEFA providing the entire amount.

Financed through the ARRA, the City of Smithville was approved for a DWSRF loan of $175,680 and a DWSRF subsidy of $117,120 for the construction of a new well. The total project cost is $292,800 with GEFA providing the entire amount. Consistent with GEFA’s ARRA financing terms for communities that are not OneGeorgia-eligible, 40 percent (up to a maximum of $117,120) of the principal will be forgiven, subject to the loan contract provisions. The city will pay 3 percent interest on the loan portion, up to a maximum of $175,680, for 20 years.

Financed through the ARRA, the City of Waycross was approved for a green project through the CWSRF. The loan of $53,600 and a CWSRF subsidy of $80,400 were approved to install a floating screen to trap and collect litter generated by stormwater runoff before reaching the Satilla River. The total project cost is $134,000 with GEFA providing the entire amount. Consistent with GEFA’s ARRA financing terms for green projects, 60 percent (up to a maximum of $80,400) of the principal will be forgiven, subject to the loan contract provisions. The city will pay 3 percent interest on the loan portion, up to a maximum of $53,600, for 10 years.

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