Springfield City Manager Brett Bennett says he opened the lines of communication between Springfield and Guyton regarding water and sewer because he wanted them to know: “Springfield is an option.”
A group of representatives from both cities, including their engineers, met at Guyton City Hall on Monday to discuss future possibilities.
“If we continue to service Guyton, we’d have to expand,” Bennett said.
He said they had pulled the preliminary engineering reports that were done a few years ago.
“Obviously it’s going to cost a lot more now that it was a couple of year’s ago,” he said. “Five to seven million (dollars) is what we’d have to spend on expansion.”
Last year, the two cities amended their intergovernmental agreement to increase Guyton’s capacity by 100,000 gallons per day to be purchased in 25,000-gallon increments.
“We have entered into talks with Springfield to see if there is a better way to go,” Guyton Alderman Phillip King said.
Guyton has to pay $200,000 upfront for each increment increase, which means developers would have to pay roughly an additional $2,400 per equivalent residential unit to tie-in to Springfield. Currently, Guyton’s water and sewer connection fees run about $7,300 for development in the city limits.
Guyton has obtained a $13.35 million loan for the next 20 years at annual percentage rate of 4.1 percent for its proposed 500,000 gallon wastewater treatment plant.
However, there is still one catch. Springfield is waiting on the state’s Environmental Protection Division.
So even if Guyton does choose to stay with Springfield, there may be a continued delay for sewer
connections. Curtis Boswell of the EPD said that he’s currently reviewing Springfield’s request for an upgrade to its 500,000 gallons per day wastewater treatment facility and an expansion to a 600,000 gpd and eventually to a 1 million gpd capacity.
Mark Mobley of EMC Engineering has submitted all the documentation that EPD has required so far but is now waiting on Boswell. Once the state concurs with the design development report, they will draft a public notice for a 30-day comment period to be advertised in the newspaper.
During the 30-day comment period, if citizens raise strong enough objections to Springfield’s plans to upgrade to water reuse standards — which includes installing a spray field on property located near Long Bridge and Stillwell — and to expand, then EPD may choose to hold a public hearing, said Boswell. In that case, the state will have to advertise the hearing 30 days in advance.
If Guyton stays with their current plans to build their own facility, they have to hold a public meeting and also advertise 30 days in advance.
A little less than a month ago the city closed on its purchase of 265 acres of Copper Station property located on Riverside Drive, giving them a total of approximately 647 acres to construct a 5-10-acre wastewater treatment facility, an 85-acre spray field and walking trails.
They paid over $2 million for the property with a secured loan for $13.35 million from Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority. In addition, the city has already spent or been invoiced between $1.6 and $1.8 million for such things as research, soil testing and engineering fees.
So what will Guyton do with the property they just purchased if they decide at this point to stay with Springfield?
“We’ve not gotten that far,” King said.
He pointed out that the talks have just begun, so no decisions have been made. He did say that the city plans to hold a public workshop so more council members from both cities can participate and the public can give input.