Council pledges local matching funds for the grants
At Tuesday’s Union City Council meeting, City Administrator Joe Nichols presented a resolution for council to support the city in applying for funding from the SC Department of Commerce and the US Economic Development Administration. The resolution also pledged local funding for regional infrastructure grants for the city to extend industrial sewer up 176 to the Trakas Industrial Site and the Town of Jonesville. The city would take over Jonesville’s wastewater system, shutting down the wastewater plant in Jonesville and eliminating a discharge point, which he said is good news in the eyes of DHEC. The plans call for a new pump station to be built at Rocky Creek on land the city already owns there.
Nichols explained the need for industrial sewer service in that area:
(audio below story)
The project’s total price tag is estimated at $9,753,750, including construction, engineering, and project administration costs. A third of that cost is running force mains from Jonesville to Union, another third is converting Jonesville’s wastewater treatment plant to a pump station with an equalization basin and building the new pump station at Rocky Creek, and the final third adds additional economic development capacity from the Trakas site to Jonesville, running additional large force mains in that area. The county already voted to support the application and pledged local funding to the project. EDA grants require local matching funds of at least 20% of construction costs. They are seeking $7,125,400 from the EDA in grants for the project. They will be applying in April for $1,500,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding from the SC Department of Commerce. They are also asking $800,000 from the SC Power Team, which is the economic development organization of the state’s 20 electric cooperatives. The Town of Jonesville will be paying $5000 in administrative costs, while the county and city are asked to commit $161,675 each. However, if the CDBG grant does not come through, the local match for the city and county would increase to $911,675, and could be as much as $1.3 million if the SC Power Team funding also doesn’t come through. Nichols said if the EDA grant doesn’t come through, the project could not be pursued at this time.
Nichols said rates would have to be set for the Town of Jonesville for treating their wastewater, the same as they have had to do with the Town of Carlisle. They will also have to come up with agreements with Belk and Dollar General for billing their wastewater, as all of that would be coming to Union, as well. Council member Greg Addison asked if the city will make any money off this project. Nichols stated that sewer, while an essential utility, never makes money. He said if you break even, you feel good about it. As a combined utility, he said the electric, gas, and water tends to make up for the money lost on the wastewater side. He did note that outside the Town of Jonesville, the city would be making money from new economic development for water and gas.
After discussion, council voted 6-1, with Greg Addison opposed, to approve the resolution.
We’ll have more from the meeting in tomorrow’s newscast.