Sewer bid awarded
On Jan. 18, The Thomson-McDuffie County Water and Sewer Commission put a price tag on sewer system repairs inside Thomson that will begin this year. Southeast Pipe Survey out of Patterson, Ga. will do the work for $831,562.03.
The plan to pay for the repairs has funding coming from two sources. Community Development Block Grant money ($172,325.86) and Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax money ($659,236.17) will fund the project.
City and County apply for filtration loan
Both Thomson and McDuffie County voted on Jan. 18 to apply for a loan from the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority to fund a water filtration system that was mandated by Environmental Protection Agency standards.
The governments decided in August to move towards a Granular Activated Carbon filter to eliminate potentially harmful byproducts caused from treating drinking water with chlorine. The system, however, was too costly to buy outright.
GEFA specializes in low interest loans and subsidies to help regional drinking water systems meet EPA standards. Thomson and McDuffie County each will apply for a $1.25 million loan to cover the county's two water treatment plants. The loans must be paid back in three years.
Date set for business license program
In the McDuffie County Commission's plans to initiate a business license program for all unincorporated areas in the county, a date was tentatively set to start the program.
Pending finalization of the ordinance and a fee structure based on the number of employees, the commission stated during a recent meeting that July 1, 2005 would be the target start date for businesses to begin applying for a license.
Both Dearing and Thomson require businesses to be licensed within their city limits. McDuffie business owners outside of the towns who do not have the proper documentation through the state of Georgia would have a grace period of approximately six months to obtain the training and certification necessary for a county license.
Once the ordinance is finalized, the commission will hold a public hearing on the issue.
School facilities upgraded
Several improvements in school facilities this year should help things run a bit smoother.
A new access road at Maxwell Elementary will relieve traffic congestion at peak drop off and pick up times, Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services Jim Franklin noted at the January School Board meeting.
The access road, which will have McNeill somewhere in the name to thank the family that donated the land, is scheduled to open this month.
School officials need to finalize the traffic flow, signs, stripping and gating before the road is officially used, he said.
Norris Elementary School is slated to get a similar access road this year, with both projects being joint ventures with the county road department.
The tennis courts have been cleared for use by the high school. The refurbished courts have a two year warranty on the surface, Dr. Franklin said.
Also as part of the facilities report, Dr. Franklin said the school system would like to upgrade its lease on property on Thurmond Lake to a longer lease. The area, known as McDuffie Place, received an environmental inspection Thursday, Jan. 6 by officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The school system has requested that a lease longer than two years be considered.