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Guyton may seek federal funding for sewage plant
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Guyton City Council is looking for a better deal than its current loan with the state for its widely-debated wastewater treatment plant.

Guyton council members voted 3-0 Tuesday night to submit a preapplication to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a direct water and environmental program loan/grant for possible financing of the sewage treatment plant.

“Some of it is loan, and some of it is a grant,” said Mayor Michael Garvin. “It’s a longer term. Time is on our side.”

Guyton currently has a 20-year loan for $13.3 million from the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority for its proposed treatment plant on Riverside Drive.

With the USDA loan/grant, the city would get a 40-year note at an interest rate between 3.5 percent and 4 percent. Guyton’s interest rate with GEFA for its proposed 500,000 gallon per day wastewater treatment plant is 4.1 percent.

“It sounds very good,” Council member Ulysses Eaton said of the USDA program.

Under the terms of the federal program, up to 75 percent of the amount approved could be a grant, with the rest covered by a loan.

“We have not done the numbers for the engineers,” Garvin said. “It’s just a pre-application to get the process started.”

But residents at Tuesday night’s meeting continued to question the need for the sewage treatment plant — offering that even building 900 houses in the next four years wouldn’t be enough to pay for the system. They also asked if there would be enough revenue generated through tap and user fees to cover the cost of the loans.

Garvin did not rule out entering into agreements with Springfield — which handles Guyton’s wastewater treatment needs now — or the county.

Springfield and Guyton agreed for Guyton to have another 100,000 gallons of capacity, to be purchased in increments of 25,000 gallons, in Springfield’s existing treatment facility

“We never took anything off the table,” he said. “We still have to find the money from somewhere. We’ll do what’s best for the citizens of Guyton.”