Madison County school leaders agreed Sept. 23 to chip in $5,000 for an engineer to explore funding options for a potential county sewerage system.
The county school board joins the industrial authority and the cities of Danielsville, Hull, Colbert and Comer that have already approved the money to get the engineer’s study under way. The county commissioners are expected to approve the funding next. The city of Ila rejected the proposal, while Carlton did not respond to an engineer’s request to present the proposal.
Engineer Chris Quigley recently met with county and city leaders at the old courthouse in Danielsville to discuss a potential county sewerage system to spark industrial and commercial development in the county. Leaders see a county sewerage system as a way to attract more businesses to Madison County and lower the county’s property tax base.
Quigley noted that Comer and Danielsville sewerage systems need major renovations. Instead of spending substantial money to renovate problematic systems, Quigley, who is working on a sewerage system for Oglethorpe County, suggested that the county governmental entities seek federal grant money for a regional sewerage treatment plant, which could process sewage for the county.
Quigley said much of the estimated $7 million cost of the project could be covered by grants and low-interest loans. For instance, he said the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) might provide up to $4 million for the project, which it has for Oglethorpe County.
Quigley said applying for USDA money is a cumbersome process, with many hoops and much paperwork. He said the fact that seven governmental entities in Madison County have shown interest — assuming that the BOC officially joins the IDA, school board and four cities — will help in securing federal money.
“If we can say seven different groups are participating, that carries a lot of weight,” said Quigley.
School board members seemed receptive to the sewerage plan.
“I can see a long-term good effect (with a sewerage system),” said BOE member Leslie Neal. “It’s big for business.”
BOE members asked what will happen with the current Danielsville sewerage pond if a county treatment facility is established. Quigley said the shut down of that sewage treatment pond could be built in to the cost of the project. But he said such details will require more negotiations and more planning between the involved parties.