By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia
The Franklin County Commission approves a bond issue resolution to secure funding for a sewer expansion project along Interstate 85.
Franklin County has received approval from the USDA for a $3.5 million loan/grant package for the project.
At a work session with Franklin County Commissioners earlier this month, Franklin County Manager John Phillips told commissioners everything was in place to receive those funds, except for one document.
He said the loan resolution document still needed to be signed.
“Our attorney at the time had concerns that this document would tie us to those funds, regardless of whether the project would move forward or not,” Phillips said. “Since that time, he has said he is satisfied that if the project did not move forward we would not have to borrow the money.”
At issue was whether Franklin County would be stuck having to pay back the loan part of the USDA package even if the Interstate 85 corridor project did not go through.
But at the work session earlier this month, Franklin County Attorney Bubba Samuels told commissioners that would not be the case.
Still, Franklin County Commissioner Jeff Jacques said he had concerns about the loan agreement.
“It looks like there has to be a project framework between the county and the city of Carnesville since there is a joint venture,” Jacques said. “Does this tie our hands for the financing, repayment, etc. I don’t have problem with approving the resolution tonight. I just want to make sure we still have the latitude to assemble a mutually beneficial project framework agreement with the city so everybody knows and fully understands the costs, the cost-sharing, etc.”
However, Samuels said that Franklin County would not be held liable.
“As I said earlier, all of the action to be taken with regard to the loan is new De Novo action by the board,” Samuels said. “That said, we’re binding ourselves to do anything affirmatively by passage of this resolution.”
The new sewer line will extend along I-85 from Exit 160 at State Route 51 to Exit 166 at State Route 106 and is expected to attract new industry into Franklin County.
Plans involve two new lift stations as well as a totally new wastewater treatment plant that will be built in the City of Carnesville.
The total estimated cost of the sewer line/wastewater treatment project is $6.3 million.
The City of Carnesville has committed $200,000 to the effort, and the Franklin County Industrial Building Authority has agreed to contribute $500,000 to the project.