Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

March 16, 2013

City talks SPLOST at retreat

Water, sewer get higher priority

VALDOSTA — The Valdosta City Council discussed a new priority list for the seventh cycle of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax during their planning retreat at the Lenox River Ranch Friday.

The City and County plan to campaign for another SPLOST referendum in November to help fund municipal projects for both governments, and the City plans to make an effort to spend a large percentage of those dollars on water and sewer improvements.

The City has increased its budget for water and sewer projects to 36.9 percent of the total SPLOST revenues for Lowndes County and cities, adding another $29 million to the price tag of $26.4 million appearing on the original referendum for a  total of $55.4 million.

The City plans to match this budget with a new loan from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority in the amount of $32 million, putting the budget at $87.4 million.

A proposed $20 million is allocated for the relocation of the Withlacoochee Wastewater Treatment Plant out of the 100-year flood plain, and most of the remaining budget is proposed to retire old GEFA debt from the construction of a new force main to the Mud Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant and other sewer projects.

The City plans to leave in the bank $10 million available for other projects.

City Manager Larry Hanson explained to the Council that while the proposal asks $55.4 million out of SPLOST VII, and that the WWTP relocation will require only $20 million of those funds, a loan renewal would be necessary to make more immediate progress on proposed projects.

“You have to have a way to pay for those projects through loans,” Hanson said. “You have to have a financing mechanism in place so you don’t have to wait six years for the SPLOST. And there are still other things we’ll need to pay to keep the (WWTP) operational. We’re going to continue to have to keep that plant operating and keep it in compliance.”

Hanson also mentioned a current project to inspect all 600 miles of the city sewer system with video cameras to find weak spots that could lead to infiltration and inflow (I&I).

“We’ve done 75 miles so far in three years, and we have to have additional money to continue to rehabilitate the system,” Hanson said.

The Utilities Department has discovered “not as many problems as anticipated” during these inspections, and expects about 50 percent of the I&I problems to exist along the line that runs along Meadow Brook, Hanson said.

Councilman Robert Yost spoke in strong favor of the proposed water and sewer budget, and urged the Council to consider adding more to the budget.

“I would really like us to look close at what we budget for this,” Yost said. “What happens if something happens to the plant and it costs us a million dollars? I really would like to see more money moved over from all the other categories and put it in here, to pay down more debt or fix more of the problems we have. I really think this is the meat and potatoes of what the SPLOST is for.”

Hanson agreed with Yost that paying off more debt sooner “would not be a bad thing.”

Plans for a new auditorium complex at Five Points are not listed in the new SPLOST budget.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • doug henderson.jpg Memorial tourney returns

    The Doug Henderson III Memorial Golf Tournament has raised thousands of dollars for scholarship funds and to help organizations throughout the region.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041914-WA-Egghunt021.jpg Park puts wild spin on Easter tradition

    Adventurous egg hunters braved overcast skies and a persistent drizzle to search for hidden prizes Saturday during Wild Adventure’s first Ostrich Egg Hunt.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • FallenTree003.JPG More spills reported

    City of Valdosta employees have spent the weekend responding to spills caused by several inches of rain that have again drenched the city during the past few days.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Underwater Easter_Rich copy.jpg Stories behind ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’

    Christ comes from the Greek word, “Christos,” meaning “the anointed one.”

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140418_valwood001.jpg Valwood students register to vote

    Valwood teaches its students about the importance of voting. Each year, the school has encouraged eligible seniors to register to vote and participate in local elections.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • wadebrandon14.jpg Police still seeking missing mother, son

    Though their assignments have changed during the past dozen years, Valdosta Police Capt. Bobbi McGraw and Sgt. Chris Crews continue working the case of a missing mother and her son.

    April 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • 041814-TreeDownonRobinHood.jpg Minor flooding expected

    Minor flooding of the Withlacoochee River is expected this weekend thanks to the day-long rains across South Georgia Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 041814-TreeDownonRobinHood.jpg Wastewater hazards assessed

    During heavy rain events, five to 15 manholes throughout the city are at risk of overflowing into local waterways, according to the City of Valdosta.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140418-VSU_HSBA003.jpg Valdosta State cuts ribbon for health, business building

    Eighteen months after breaking ground on the project, Valdosta State University held the official ribbon cutting Friday for its Health Sciences and Business Administration Building.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140417-Rail_Plan-001.jpg State Transportation seeks public input on rail plan

    The Georgia Department of Transportation held public meetings across the state this week to discuss its 2014 Georgia State Rail Plan.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Given the amount of rain recently, what's your favorite “rain” song?

Singing in the Rain
Purple Rain
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
November Rain
Rainy Night in Georgia
Other
     View Results