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Saturday November 17th, 2018 6:42PM

Lula investment in sewer service continues to grow

By Marc Eggers Anchor / Reporter

LULA – The small town that ventured into a big-time waste treatment business (an endeavor usually reserved for much larger municipalities) is venturing even further.

Lula city council members heard from City Manager Dennis Bergin Monday evening at their work session that what some considered a risky investment by the town of less than 3,000 residents over a decade ago, is now doing quite well.

“This is the first year where you’ll be (able to) stand on your own,” Bergin told council.  “And against revenues now you are $90,000 to the good.”    

“And we’re well under our budget right now,” Bergin added.

Bergin expanded on his statements after the meeting by saying, “This is the first fiscal year, full fiscal year that we’re standing on our own.  In the past we relied on SPLOST funding, but (now) we’re not relying on SPLOST.”

And just ahead for the northeastern Hall County community is a planned $1.4-million expansion of their sewer line system.  Five-hundred planned new homes have been identified as customers for the new sewer line with more in the future.  “We’re probably not even touching the surface on that.”

Bergin said the city still owes $1.1-million on the original loan to build the $12-million treatment plant, but he called that balance “manageable”.

“The council has considered in recent months whether or not we accelerate the payment of that,” Bergin said, but the decision was instead to grow the footprint of service provided by the treatment plant since it still has much more capacity to offer, hence the application to secure $1.4-million of financing from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA).

Regarding the status of that loan application, Bergin said, “It has tentative approval.”

Paying off the GEFA loan is calculated on a 20-year term according to Bergin, “and is based on future tap fees” and continued competitive pricing for sewer service in the growing SR 365-corridor.

Bergin pointed out that even as the system grows an emphasis is being placed on reducing individual unintended use of the system.  The week of March 19th has been declared “Fix A Leak” week in Lula.

The city council is urging all residents to inspect their homes and check for leaking or dripping faucets and toilets.

Bergin said, “We try to put an emphasis on this once a year…springtime seems to be a good time.”

“As an example, a drip, drip, drip by one of your faucets…is unbelievable how much water over a month’s period of time…is over 2,400-gallons.”

“So is it worthwhile to replace or repair that faucet?” Bergin asked rhetorically.  “I guarantee it is!”

“We actually do offer a toilet rebate on low-flow fixtures,” Bergin said.

For more on “Fix A Leak” week contact Bergin and his staff at (770) 869-3801.

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