The council unanimously approved an application at the meeting for a $955,000 loan through the Alabama Department of Environmental Management’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund. The purpose of the loan, according to the city’s paperwork, is to locate new sewer lines within the city of Argo, on St. Clair 6 and U.S. 11.
“The bottom line is making the system whole,” said Mayor Joe Lee.
The loan would be for a fixed-rate of an estimated 2.6 percent that would last 20 years. City project manager Dave Treadwell, who is a member of the Governmental Utility Services Board of Directors, said that connecting the system would provide a savings of around $6,000-$7,000 per month in “hauling fees.”
“It will be a significant savings once we get the lines in,” Treadwell said. “Plus we’re going to be generating some funds out of this project that we don’t have today to help pay the loan.”
Lee said expanding the system is unlikely to increase costs for current users.
“The goal is not to raise rates,” he said. “The goal is to eventually lower them by making the system whole and producing new customers.
“We’re also working with the county to share the cost of the loan. It’s going to help St. Clair County, on the west side, to grow. It’s going to provide new revenues in Argo and Margaret as well.”
Officials from the GUS visited the county commission at its bi-monthly work session recently. Commission chairman Stan Batemon said the county could provide help, but only within certain parameters.
“There is an opportunity where (the county) can do up to 10 percent for a water project,” he said. “We cap our amount at $200,000. The other thing was, if they have specific projects in mind, we can share up to 1/3, not to exceed $150,000. We put those on the table and we told them that if they could make those fit into that, we could do that without having to reinvent something.
“We’ve tried to discuss every option we could that in the long run, would create sewer in Argo. That’s one of the main things: to create some sewer service.”
Engineer Kelly Keeton told the council that the team that designed the project will continue to investigate other funding sources, in addition to the proposed loan through ADEM.
“We have investigated other options,” she said. “This one is the best.”
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