City Engineer John Sweitzer on Monday presented to the White City Council and a small group of citizens the current status of the Phase II grant and loan request, which he explained is being processed.
The preliminary opinion of total project cost for Phase II is $3,711,400 and includes in its plan approximately 27,600 feet of sewers, 107 manholes and 10,200 feet of service laterals.
Sweitzer said the cost for a resident to tie in to the sewer will be included in the price of the project if the resident chooses to tie on at the time of construction. Otherwise, a resident who wishes to tie on after construction is complete will have to pay a $950 tap fee to the city of White and a $1,260 sewer capacity fee to the city of Cartersville as Cartersville handles sewage treatment and disposal. The Cartersville sewer capacity fee currently has been reduced to 50 percent.
Sweitzer said there will be a sign-up campaign for residents interested in opting in to the service.
"The next step is for USDA to meet with city officials and go over the requirements they will have to agree to in order to get the grant and loan funding," Sweitzer said.
The city funded Phase I of its sewer project through the same loan and grant program as well as Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax and other resources, but Sweitzer said getting grant funding for this project will be much more competitive because Phase I, for example, gained 60 customers in the Whispering Pines subdivision as well as Toyo Tire North American Manufacturing, Cass High School and Cass Middle School. Phase I also implemented trunk sewers, which are sewers receiving sewage from many tributaries serving a large territory.
"All [of those factors] contribute to the city of White's financial ability to pay back the loan," Sweitzer said, "so we're likely to have a relatively high loan and relatively small grant compared to other communities, so that makes us very competitive."
Sweitzer said the existing $331,100 USDA loan being repaid by the city for Phase I is at 4.377 percent interest and the interest rate on a new loan will be determined by USDA at the time of the commitment. The city has been paying on the loan since 2005.
City Manager Jane Richards said there are no SPLOST funds allotted for Phase II in the current budget, but if SPLOST is approved again in 2012, the city may allot some funding.
Sweitzer said Phase II will not receive many of the other sources of funding Phase I received due to lack of state funding and because a previously received grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission was contingent on economic development. The current prospects of Phase II are residents, not businesses.
"The ARC provides grant funds if needed to enhance economic development, but right now we don't have any of those prospects," Sweitzer said.
Calls to the Cartersville USDA location were unsuccessful at press time, but Sweitzer explained the agency does not yet have its budget and will not know how much is available for grants and loans until the federal fiscal year ends Sept. 30.
"Until Congress passes a budget, USDA is going on the continuing resolution funds, which just keep them operating, but do not allow for any more project funding," Sweitzer said. "White's project is dependent upon Congress passing a budget that restores USDA water and sewer project funding, and even so, White will be in competition with all of the other communities in Georgia which have applied."
Sweitzer said once funding is established, Phase II could be complete in two years.