Valdosta Daily Times

February 4, 2014

Council will vote to reissue an expired GEFA loan

Matthew Woody
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — The Valdosta City Council discussed a resolution to reapprove a Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) loan for specific Water and Sewer Infrastructure Projects.

This loan expired in December of 2013, and because the City was unconfident they could complete the specified projects by the deadline, they closed out the loan, and reapplied for the remaining balance at a lower interest rate, said City Manager Larry Hanson.

Henry Hicks, Valdosta's director of utilities, stated the City can only use this loan to pay for the projects not completed under the initial loan, which consists of extending water and sewer service to annexed islands, completion of test well number ten, the conversion of test well number nine and ten into production wells, a new re-chlorination station, upgrades or replacement of four additional lift stations, and the Savannah/Fry elevated storage tank.

City Councilman Robert Yost asked Hicks, “How many items on that list are complete?” and Hicks replied, “Pat (Pat Collins, city engineer) could answer that better, but I would estimate maybe two-thirds.”

“This will save our taxpayers and our rate payers money because we got this loan at a lower interest rate, and it gives us three more years to complete these projects,” Hanson said. He also explained this loan was approved, by GEFA, in October of 2013,  The City announced the approval in two press releases, and this vote is just a formality, he said.

The City Council will vote on two public hearing items, the first requested by Carson McLane Funeral Home, and the other a request by the Historic Preservation Commission.

Carson McLane, Inc. is requesting an Ordinance of Conditional Use Permit to use a small office across the street from their funeral home  as a small administration facility to accept payments. To comply with the City's ordinance, the property must get the conditional use permit.

The Greater Lowndes Planning Commission put a restriction on the conditional use permit to not allow cremation and funeral services in the building, and for the permit to expire after two years.

The other public hearing request before the City Council is one that amends the text by adding a new section to the Historical Overlay District in the Land Development Regulations. This addition would add flexibility to the current land use and site development standards.

The final two items before the Valdosta City Council are board appointments.

At their Jan. 28, 2014, the Lowndes County Commissioners voted to reappoint Roy Copeland to the Valdosta – Lowndes County Industrial Authority, and because of a Joint Appointment agreement, the City Council must vote to confirm the appointment as well.

Two seats in the Valdosta Historic Preservation Commission are up for reappointment, and the only two contenders for those seats were both of the incumbents. A third seat on the commission did open up, but the City is required to advertise that seat before they vote to appoint a person to that seat, so it will not be voted on until April at the earliest.

Before the City Council began their meeting they were treating to a presentation by Andrea Schruijer, executive director of the Valdosta – Lowndes County Industrial Authority, concerning the activity of the Industrial Authority.

The Valdosta City Council adjourned their work session, and will reconvene for their regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday night at 5:30 p.m. to vote on all of the items discussed at the work session.