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JDA may remove Social Circle's debt obligation

SOCIAL CIRCLE — The Joint Development Authority has authorized its legal counsel to prepare an amendment to a 2002 intergovernmental agreement relieving Social Circle of debt obligation related to water and sewer infrastructure to Stanton Springs.

The Authority has not yet approved the amendment, which was authorized at its July 23 meeting. Approval would also have to come from the city of Social Circle and the four counties that make up the Authority - Newton, Walton, Morgan and Jasper.

The Authority and city of Social Circle signed a promissory note in October 2002 for a $435,450 from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority. The total amount due over the 20-year term of the loan, including interest, is $680,200.99, according to Andrea Gray in the County Attorney’s Office.

Newton and Walton counties were responsible for 34.5 percent each of payments; Jasper for 9.2 percent; Morgan for 13.8 percent and Social Circle for 8 percent.

The loan was obtained for construction of new water lines and a water pumping station, construction of a wastewater pump station and force main and performance of engineering studies required for providing utilities to Stanton Springs.

“Six to eight years ago, the Joint Development Authority was trying to land a big fish,” said JDA member Mort Ewing. “There was a huge company — we didn’t know the name of it — that wanted to locate at Stanton Springs at that time.”

The JDA partnered with Social Circle in hopes of recruiting the company.

“Social Circle agreed that if, in fact, that company came they could provide temporary sewer service and water,” Ewing said. “That particular customer went away, but we had the infrastructure in place that we could use at a later date.”

When Stanton Springs landed Baxter International, however, Social Circle could not meet the needed water and sewer capacity, so an agreement was made with the Newton County Water and Sewerage Authority to provide those services.

“With all of that said, we no longer need sewer service from Social Circle. We will continue to have that redundant water supply from Social Circle, but we thought it was in the best interest of Social Circle that we take over the remaining debt that was on that GEFA note,” Ewing said.

The remaining debt, as calculated in May, is $433,034.18, according to Gray. Social Circle’s remaining obligation is $33,556.87 which is proposed to be divided among the four counties, with Newton and Walton paying 37.5 percent; Morgan 15 percent and Jasper 10 percent. Social Circle would not be reimbursed for payments already made.

Social Circle Mayor Hal Dally said he was unaware of the JDA’s action when contacted by the Citizen. He said there was last mention of removing Social Circle from the debt obligation a year ago. “The only comment made then was we need to figure out a way to repay Social Circle’s investment,” he said.

Comments

Frustrated 8 months, 2 weeks ago

Where is the money coming from to pay this debt? Are the taxpayers going to be responsible? After the BOC and BOE just raised our taxes now are we supposed to take on this as well?

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