Leesburg leaders: SPLOST money with no strings - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Leesburg leaders: SPLOST money with no strings

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January 10, 2007

Lee County--   Lots of debate over a proposed wastewater treatment facility in Leesburg. City leaders asked Lee County commissioners for SPLOST assistance.  It almost came under terms they didn't approve of.

Leesburg city leaders asked Lee County leaders for 7-million dollars in SPLOST V money for the building of the wastewater treatment facility.

County leaders drew up an intergovernmental agreement with Leesburg.  That agreement put control of the plant under the control of the Utilities Authority Board. Tuesday night, the agreement passed but not without disapproval from Leesburg council members. 

Councilman Bobby Wilson says they wanted the money with no strings attached. He says the city should have control of the facility since they handle city business.  

"The responsibility ought to be the city of Leesburg's. We're financially sound. We've looked after taxpayer's money as best as we can," said Wilson.

County commissioner Jo Ealum says she felt putting the Utilities Authority Board in control would better the chances of a SPLOST referendum passing.

"I feared that the initial proposal of just giving them 7 million dollars, that my constituents throughout the county would actually vote down the SPLOST and Lee County desperately needs the SPLOST money," said Ealum.

After more discussion, County commissioners reversed their vote and agreed to give Leesburg a total of 5-million dollars. The city must make sure 200,000 gallons of water capacity be reserved for commercial, industrial and school development for the county.

Leesburg leaders will vote on the intergovernmental agreement Wednesday night.

 The agreement also includes $900,000 for water, sewer and road improvements in Smithville.

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