Kingston continues USDA loan application process
by Jason Lowrey
Jan 15, 2013 | 833 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After its approval last month of a $1.3 million loan and approximately $900,000 grant to revitalize the city’s water utility, the Kingston City Council continued to work its way through the U.S. Department of Agriculture application process during its Monday night meeting.

The council approved an engineer’s contract with Sweitzer Engineering and a legal services agreement with City Attorney Brandon Bowen. The city also will apply for interim financing through the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority. All three documents were required, City Engineer John Sweitzer said, to keep the loan application moving through the USDA.

However, the interim financing concerned council member Ed Miklas. He thought the council should wait and investigate how much the interest the city could incur on the interim loan before proceeding.

Sweitzer believed the city would not pay for any interest on the interim loan, as it was accounted for by the USDA. He said it was a benefit of getting the interim loan from GEFA.

“It’s a state organization which will lend you the interim financing, which then the USDA will take over and pay off when you utilize the total loan amount,” he said. “Then the remainder of the project is covered by the grant. ...

“The state borrows the money once or twice a year. They do a bond issue and they get a very low rate because it’s a state bond issue, and then they, in turn, lend the money to the communities at a low interest rate.”

Sweitzer also told the council the city would not have to make any payments on the loan until construction was complete, which he believed would be at least one to two years. In addition, he said the city would only be paying on the interest for the first two years after construction was completed rather than the principal amount.

Sweitzer and Bowen both believed the USDA loan’s interest would be roughly 2 percent.

The council also debated, and then tabled, a proposal to pay $1,360 to have bulletproof glass installed over the front desk at city hall. City Clerk Michele Jones made the request after the shooting at Newtown, Conn. She believed it was a necessary precaution, as help could be slow to arrive in Kingston if a shooting occurred.

Council member Harold Posey motioned to have the request tabled until a 2013 budget was prepared, as the funds would likely come out of the city’s general improvements account.

“I move that we table it because I really do feel like it would be part of our budget for 2013,” he said.

However, council member Louise Howell did not want to delay any decision for too long.

“I just don’t want us to put it off the table too long because the way that everything’s happening nowadays you really need protection in there,” she said.

Other council business included:

• Approving the purchase of two picnic tables for the city’s pavillion in the total sum of $250.

• Approving the city’s five-year short-term work plan and sending it to the state.

• Approving the minutes for the council’s September, October, November and December meetings.

• Appointing G.B. Hood to serve the remainder of Joan Manus’s term on the planning commission.

• Granting Billy Baker a raise to compensate him for the rise in gasoline prices.

The Kingston City Council’s next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. at city hall.