I am only in favor of the Town’s Request for Grant Money from the Hamilton County Development Agency if it is the intent of the Town of White Springs to secure this grant for the purpose of lowering the Water and Sewer Rates to a more normal rate level. Currently the rates are 250% over and above any other municipal rate.
Otherwise. I am in Opposition to the Town’s Request for Grant Money from the Hamilton County Development agency for the following reasons:
- The town has INCREASED its annual operating budget to $1.4 Million from 1.1 Million and has raised its Sewer Rates 250% over any other towns in the tri-county area, making the average sewer/water/trash bill over $110.00 per month. I have heard of some horror stories of 3 to 4 hundred dollars a month from residences. Businesses are being hit especially hard and now the Town wants the Hamilton County Development Board to fund something which will create ZERO jobs and do nothing for business incubation or business growth.
- The receipt of these funds, $250,000, will NOT CREATE any jobs but will only do maintenance work, work that should have been funded in a “sinking fund” over the last 12-14 years.
- In the last 12-14 years the town has been operating a relatively free of maintenance sewer plant which was built in the first half of 2000, I believe in 2002. What did they do with the money that should have been saved for future repairs and replacement of Sewer Pipes?
- The funds for the 3.217 million dollar Sewer Pipe Replacement project will come from a state revolving loan of which a sizeable percentage (92.75%) is forgiven. This town has the money to pay the “seed money” which the Town hopes to get the HCDA to give them. Such a grant is for approximately $250,000.
If this board wants to create jobs NOW then they should deny this grant request in favor of a request that has a legitimate chance of creating jobs OR make as a condition of approval of this grant that the town lower its sewer and water bills to “Normal” levels and help current White Springs residents that way. You cannot have high sewer rates and new, if any jobs, at the same time. It just doesn’t work that way.
I believe the White Springs government is happy to spend everything given to them but unwilling to do the hard work of saving their own dollars to do the project. I say, help the citizens of White Springs and the businesses of White Springs and especially any new businesses that might move into White Springs but won’t because of the high cost of doing business with the Town. Deny the Grant or Lower the Sewer bills.
As it was the grant was denied. One of the board members also said “White Springs had no skin in the game”. Instead $25,000 was given the Town the following year and we have no idea where it was used.
Karin for the blog