County gets $21M Bear Creek loan

COVINGTON -- Newton County will receive a $21 million loan to construct Bear Creek Reservoir through the Governor's Water Supply Program.

The loan is being administered through the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority and the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

The county will pay zero interest for the first three years of construction, 1 percent for the remainder of construction, accrued and capitalized, and 1.82 percent during the repayment period once construction is complete. The county will make interest-only payments the first seven years of the 40-year loan and will pay principal and interest afterward and will not be charged a closing fee.

The total cost of Bear Creek Reservoir is $62,685,831, according to a press release issued by GEFA.

The 1,242 acre pumped-storage reservoir will have a water intake on the Alcovy River. The reservoir is being designed to yield 28 million gallons per day.

According to County Manager John Middleton, the loan will fund the first phase, construction of the dam and reservoir. The other phases -- construction of the pump station and water treatment plant -- will account for the remainder of the cost, he said.

"These phases can be constructed as future water supply demand and projections require," he said.

Middleton said that his understanding from the county attorney is that the permit will be issued this fall, as indicated by the state and federal agencies handling the permitting process. Once permitted and the dam design is completed and approved by Georgia Safe Dams, construction could begin in late 2013 to early 2014, Middleton said, take about 24 months to complete and, depending on natural rainfall, a year or so to fill.

GEFA and DCA awarded nearly $90.5 million in loans and more than $9 million state direct investment for eight water supply projects through the Governor's Water Supply Program.

Gov. Nathan Deal directed GEFA to develop and launch the program in 2011 and committed $300 million to the program over four years. The program assists local governments with developing new sources of water supply to meet future water demand forecasts.

"Georgia has proactively sought solutions to the water supply issue, including developing new water sources and promoting water conservation," said GEFA Executive Director Kevin Clark. "By ensuring adequate supply through both new water sources and conservation, Georgia's water needs can be met."

GEFA received 15 applications from communities seeking more than $195 million in funding for water supply projects. Local governments can apply in the second and third rounds of the program in January 2013 and January 2014.


dennistay53 2 years, 9 months ago

How we gonna pay it back? We don't have money to fix roads and school tax keeps going up every year, we're heading into another recession before we get out of the last one. We're adding non paying tax payers to the county every day,we can't keep books on the shelf at the library. We have to come up with money for the Baxter giveaways but want get much if any from them into at least 2018. I see another Orange county california developing here.


Newtownqq 2 years, 9 months ago

We need to remember this is a loan!! Not a grant and will need to be repaid. So this could be a prime canadiate for the next SPLOST!!! Wonder how much Tommy Craig's share will be?


Silverbullet 2 years, 9 months ago

County gets NOTHING! Tommy Craig gets $21 million because his money tree is bare. Is this what the Governor meant when he said "Make money available for reservoirs" because it sure sounded like a grant at the time he said it. Why is it that everyone BUT the Commissioners know there will never be a Bear Creek Reservoir? Have the Commissioners got enough sense to ask Craig for a detailed projection of how this $21 million will be spent? He IS the reservoir consultant and if he doesnt know who do else do you ask? Get real Commissioners you are being had big time by your reservoir consultant to the tune of millions of dollars of OUR money. Or dont you even care?


Newtownqq 2 years, 9 months ago

The only way to stop it is show up at the meeting!! Stop the money tree! Half the time Craig who is the appointed county attorney does not show up!!! He needs to be fired fast!!!! Please tell us BOC whats the plan!


inthemiddle 2 years, 9 months ago

We will need the reservoir one day, and now is the time to build it; but I am not comfortable with Craig being in charge of it at all.


henrystamm 2 years, 9 months ago

The headline is deceiving. The county does not get the money, the state is loaning it to them and we the property owners will be taxed again. What happened to the republicans they are getting as bad as the Democrats. Grant yes, loan hell no.


inthemiddle 2 years, 8 months ago

The headline clearly says this is a loan. How is the headline deceiving?


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