Last month commissioners adopted a resolution to accept a loan from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority for $29.1 million which would pay one-third of the cost of the planned Richland Creek Reservoir.
Last week they voted to continue the permitting efforts and preliminary engineering on the reservoir for $114,600, which came out of a previous loan.
County officials said they planned to send an application for another loan from the authority this month.
The Savannah District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the governing body which issues permits for such new bodies of water in the area.
County officials recently met with Gov. Nathan Deal to discuss the timing of the permitting process. Deal along with some of Georgia’s U.S. elected officials will sign a letter to urge the corps to push the process along. Deal should send the letter this week, said county Water Systems Director Michael Carter.
“[The letter] stresses the importance of the reservoir,” he said.
Currently the county is providing the Corps information on the effects of the reservoir on the area’s watershed – the final step in satisfying the corps’ requirements before it decides on the permit. The study should be complete in 60 to 120 days, Carter said.
The newest loan is ready, so the county can start working when permitting is complete.
“We will be drawing on that loan the next five years,” Carter said.
Payments on the loan will not be made until the reservoir produces water. The first three years of payments will have no interest, the next two will be at 1 percent interest and then the loan will become a 40-year fixed loan at 1.82 percent.
Post 2 Commissioner Todd Pownall said he was concerned about the interest on the loan, and when they would start paying.
He said the county has to go through the process even though it can be long.
“It can be frustrating because it takes time and patience from us,” Pownall said.