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If county is willing to talk, Guyton should listen
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Effingham County has plenty of room for Guyton and its immediate and future wastewater treatment needs. That’s what county commissioners are trying to indicate to Guyton’s city council.

The county and the city have talked, off and on, about the city using the county’s capacity at its sewage treatment plant. Perhaps it would serve both well if those talks became more serious and produced an agreement.

Guyton is making plans for building its own sewage treatment plant, but the proposal, for several reasons, has met with resistance from the city’s residents and from neighbors where the city wants to build the plant.

The Census pegged Guyton’s 2007 population at 1,907. Currently, the city uses a fraction of Springfield’s wastewater treatment capacity. Just how much growth does the city figure on getting to warrant a 500,000 gallon per day sewage treatment plant in the near future?  While they need to be commended for at least some forward thinking and planning for the future, their projections merit serious questioning.

Currently, the city has a little more than 400 water/sewer customers. They are projecting another 600 in the near future.

The state’s Office of Planning and Budget is projecting Effingham to have a population of 54,870 by 2010, and for that number to hit 64,874 by 2015. Right now, the county is using less than 10 percent of its current allotted 1 million gallons per day in its own wastewater treatment facility. It stands to reason the county could handle the sewage treatment needs of the projected growth without much problem.

Maybe Guyton is taking a second look at the large loan it got from the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority, a loan of such size for a community of such a small size that it has led many to wonder why GEFA granted them that loan. No other rural city got a loan that large from GEFA last year.

Guyton is exploring a possible loan/grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with 75 percent of the total coming in the form of a grant. The loan would be for 40 years; the loan agreement with the state is for 20 years and at a slightly higher interest rate.

They’re a customer in search of a market. The county is a market in search of a customer.

It would serve both parties well, especially the taxpayers of Guyton and the county, for the two to be able to come to an agreement.