Just think of it as a little more red tape.
Customers in southeastern McDuffie County may have to sign some additional paperwork before construction on the water system expansion project in that area can begin, according to County Commission Chairman Charlie Newton.
As reported in the Aug. 12 edition of The Mirror, McDuffie County received a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant from the state of Georgia to help low to moderate income households connect to the future water lines that will be funded by USDA grants and loans.
The new customers signed paperwork accepting the CDBG funding, but the USDA informed McDuffie County officials that its forms needed to be filled out as well. Mr. Newton asked for residents' continued cooperation and patience in the process.
"They will be hearing from us again on these user agreements that say they are going to use the water when it becomes available," he said.
Once complete, the project will add nearly 70 miles of water lines in southeastern McDuffie. County officials are excited about delivering a dependable water source in that area as well as the added fire protection which could lower insurance rates.
Before the CDBG was awarded, the county had hit a standstill in getting potential customers to sign on to the project. The grant made it possible for more than 250 households to allow connection to the future lines. Otherwise the project could have been scrapped.
"This $500,000 grant opens the door for us to take advantage of approximately $4 million in grant money and $4 million in low interest loan money from USDA," Mr. Newton said. "Without the grant we may never have achieved the required customers."
Additional work remaining on the project is collection of the $150 tap fees from those who did not qualify for the low-income assistance from the CDBG. An account with that money is required by USDA to show that the fees have been paid even though the water still isn't available.
The paperwork and fee collection should take several months to complete.
Mr. Newton said a quick response from the new customers will speed up the process and allow completion of the water lines in the spring of 2006.
McDuffie County officials are glad to see the project finally moving toward completion and are eager for its benefits to become evident.
"I would like to thank all of the local folks and at Precision Planning for the hard work in pulling this water project together," Mr. Newton said. "It will pay great dividends for McDuffie County in the long run."