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Hinevsille pledges brigade reimbursement toward sewage plant
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Mayor Jim Thomas greets some of the Georgia Cities Week art contest winners before a city council meeting Thursday. City officials recognized local students who placed in the art and essay contests. From left are Mary Lopez, D’Antae Butler and Jalia Randleman. - photo by Photo by Denise Etheridge
The Hinesville City Council voted Thursday to set aside 75 percent of any 5th brigade mitigation funds it receives from the federal government to pay down the debt on its water reclamation facility.
The water reclamation facility was built to accommodate growth anticipated prior to the cancellation of an additional brigade at Fort Stewart.
Hinesville City Manager Billy Edwards and Mayor Jim Thomas told council members they do not yet know the amount the city will receive from the Office of Economic Adjustment. The city has been told it will receive a portion of $40 million in brigade basing remediation funds.
Hinesville applied for $28 million in remediation from OEA.
“We don’t know if we will receive the entire amount,” Thomas said.
The city borrowed $26 million from the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority to build the plant. Thomas recommended the council set aside a percentage of OEA funds, between 65-75 percent, to pay off the GEFA loan.
“We’ve got to service the debt on that,” he said.
Edwards told council members that city staff has also been working with a bond broker on bond issuance for city hall renovation.
“We anticipate receiving a rating from Moody’s rating agency for our bond issue,” he said. “The rating we receive will affect the interest rate we have to pay on these bonds.”
Edwards said the city’s outstanding debt could affect its interest rate and therefore reducing its debt could effectively lower the interest rate. Council members agreed paying off the GEFA loan would be a proper use of OEA grant funds.
In other business, the council:
• Appointed six people to serve on the Citizens Sign Appeal Board for three-year, staggered terms. Max Patel and Yvonne Woods will serve one year. DeLandria Smith and Julian Jones will serve two years. Larry Boggs and Jason Floyd will serve three years.
• Appointed Babs Holtzman, Tom Ratcliffe, Ashley Park and Matt Cordela to the Downtown Development Board. The council decided not to reappoint Paul Johnson so other individuals, who had not served before, had a chance to serve. The appointees will serve four-year terms beginning May 6.
• Approved an $89,865 bid from WindChannel Communications of Atlanta for wireless infrastructure. The wireless project would allow police officers to write and transmit reports on their laptop computers while in the field.
• Approved a $79,154 purchase of an automatic bar screen for the city pumping station on Sandy Run Drive. The station’s current screen was damaged by debris that washed into the sewer. The screen will be rebuilt by the Parkson Corp.
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