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County looks to alter Hayes Line sewer project

A few changes could be coming to the Hayes Line sewer project, County Commission Chairman Charlie Newton told commissioners during their Dec. 6 meeting.

In August, McDuffie County officials received word from the state that their application for a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant had been approved. That, plus some additional funding, would be used to help pay for sewer installation in the Hayes Line District.

Several homes in the area do not have indoor plumbing and bathrooms, something officials hoped the project would remedy. Chairman Newton told them last Wednesday it would still need to be done but not as part of the project.

"One of the stipulations was, on the CDBG portion, that in order to use the money for the sewer line going to those houses, they had to be brought up to section eight housing standards which, I think, are things like you've got to have a bathroom," said County Manager Don Norton. "I guess they can't use CDBG money unless those houses were up at that section eight minimal standard, and they weren't."

Four add-a-baths that were planned for those homes will be pulled out of the project, he said. The cost of installing the bathrooms as part of the project also proved problematic.

"They have to have a certain level of livability, if you will, before CDBG money goes into them," Mr. Norton said. "I think the bottom line, basically, is it would cost more to bring those houses to a section eight standard than it would be to just go ahead and pull those out of the CDBG area."

Chairman Newton told commissioners if the Department of Community Affairs - who oversees CDBG projects - wanted the add-a-baths pulled, there were other options.

He said he had spoken with several local contractors who might be willing to construct those add-a-baths as community projects. That would not only help meet the grant requirements but also free up more money to handle the ever-rising cost of sewer line construction.

Web posted on Thursday, December 14, 2006

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