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May 18, 2008


A SEARCH FOR WATER AND MORE DEBT

 JCWSA is seeking a new water source along with more debt.  The City of Monticello has signed an agreement to enter into a joint venture with JCWSA to share in the water search, the operations, and the debt.

 A meeting between the JCWSA and the City of Monticello was held 4/30/08, at 10:00AM in the upper conference room at City Hall.  Those present for the City of Monticello were City Manager Hugh King, Mayor Glenn Newsome, and Mayor Pro Tem Russell Gross.  Representing the   JCWSA were Chairman Brack Pound, member Jimmy Harrison, Water Tech Tom Brazil, Executive Director Linda Jordan, and Engineer Frank Sherrill. 

 
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss a joint City/Authority effort to seek a groundwater source for both entities.  The meeting conversation centered on the Cedar Creek (Feldspar) area for wells.  Engineer Frank Sherrill did most of the talking.  He told everyone that there are two (2) funding sources—GEFA at 4.1% for 30 years and USDA at 4.5% for 40 years.  He explained that with an USDA loan, payback started when the project is finished.  He added, “This is revenue bond.  It will be couple of years before you are in pay back situation.”  He also said, “Brian Wright, city auditor, said it was do-able with city funds and that ‘it was clearly within the City’s capability.’”

 
Sherrill continued, “Based on recent audits, both [entities] are financially capable of taking on more debt.”  He said they needed a comfort letter from the auditors and city attorney. 

 
TWG questions the ability of JCWSA to borrow more money when approximately 800 property owners were just billed an extra $52 on their tax bills as a “hydrant tax.”  The Commissioners and the County Attorney have both said during public meetings that the “hydrant tax” is to pay the USDA debt that JCWSA would not be able to pay without this additional income.  This tax was just extended another year. 

 
The City Council hears continued complaints about the high cost of utilities.  If the City takes on more debt how will this affect the City taxpayers?  They already pay almost 7 mils more tax than County residents along with very high utility bills.  Will utility bills become higher to pay this extra debt?  Will property taxes increase? 

 
Jasper County needs water sources for our future.  County water policy should be comprehensive and planned, not just a reaction to rezonings.  Water customers in both the City and County should not become overloaded with debt resulting in higher water rates. 

 
In the 4/30/08 meeting, the reason for the search for water was to ensure the City would have a plentiful supply.  However, other issues surfaced during the discussion.

 
Mrs. Jordan mentioned that there was continued talk of industry coming –another reason to locate wells in the area.  Industry would need water.  (In next day’s paper- May 1, 2008- 400+ ac of land is being requested for rezoning from AG to M-2 in this same area. See legal ad below.)   She said, “We need to go forward and borrow money to do it.  We need an agreement with the City.”

 
Mr. Pound continued, “Let’s go back to our boards and say that this is what we want to pursue.  There are two property owners who have expressed a willingness to sell us property.  These 2 sites haven’t been studied before. We will divide the cost of the study for these 2 sites.  Let’s see what geologist says about these 2 sites.”

 Sherrill said, “Let’s put the reports together and go to the funding agencies. We need to go ahead and start the funding applications now under GEFA.”

  
Mr. Pound concluded, “This is obvious; JCWSA is interested because this is another source of supply.  We will need this water in the future over the next 10 years.  This is good for both of us.  We need to get our boards to go forward.  We have a partnership that has been working for some time.”

 The agreement for this joint venture was voted on and signed 5/13/08 at the JCWSA meeting and the City Council meeting respectively.  See copy of agreement here:  www.taxdogs.com/JCWSACityMOUWells5.13.08.pdf

 
TWG
urges the City Council to consider exactly what they are getting for their 50% share of costs and maintenance.  Who will be serving any new industry in the Cedar Creek area?  This area appears to be in the JCWSA service delivery, not the City’s.  Does the City anticipate growth south of the City where this new water line will be run to help recoup their costs?  Citizens need to be aware of how this agreement may affect their future water rates and/or taxes.

 
See 2005 projected costs vs. 2008 projected costs.  Engineering fees were 9%; they are now 11% of the higher cost estimates. 
http://www.taxdogs.com/Cedar%20Creek%20Wells%20Cost%202008%20&%202006.pdf

 

Legal No. 9839
May 1, 8, 2008
The Monticello News 

NOTICE OF ZONING HEARING

The Jasper County Planning and Zoning Commission will conduct public hearing on the following items at their regular schedule meeting on May 22, 2008 beginning at 7:00 pm in the County Annex building, 162 N. Warren Street, Monticello, GA 

Application 2008Z03, applicant Development Authority of Jasper County, owner William Malone, GAP Family Holdings, and Malone Key Holdings to rezone 470.43 acres located on Feldspar Rd, Perimeter Rd, and Georgia Pacific Spur Rd from Agriculture to M2. Located on map 40 parcels 20,21,28. 

The Jasper County Board of Commissioner will conduct public hearing on the following items at a regular meeting on July 7, 2008 beginning at 9:00 am in the Jasper County Courthouse meeting room, 126 W. Greene Street, Monticello, GA.

 See more on Cedar Creek Wells: http://www.taxdogs.com/090707cedarcreek.htm

August 23, 2007—JCWSA meeting—from meeting recording--Chairman: It’s not ongoing at all. We’re not actively exploring any sites at this time. Long Term solution has to be a reservoir. City at this time is not active with us. Asked city to accept that they would use a considerable amount of water. City is not willing to do that. As the meeting continued after more discussion the JCWSA Engineer, Frank Sherill said, “At this point in time we don’t see this as a project.” 


TWG
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