Albany working to get loan to fix sewer system - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Albany working to get loan to fix sewer system

Albany is working to get a loan to fix the storm water and sewer system. (Source: WALB) Albany is working to get a loan to fix the storm water and sewer system. (Source: WALB)
The problems with the city's aging sewer system was evident last week when heavy rains flooded several streets. (Source: WALB) The problems with the city's aging sewer system was evident last week when heavy rains flooded several streets. (Source: WALB)
Commissioner Tommie Postell (Source: WALB) Commissioner Tommie Postell (Source: WALB)
Assistant City Manager Phil Roberson (Source: WALB) Assistant City Manager Phil Roberson (Source: WALB)
Mayor Dorothy Hubbard (Source: WALB) Mayor Dorothy Hubbard (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

The city of Albany is asking for a multi-million dollar loan in order to fix the city's infrastructure, which is in dire need of repair.

The $40 million, low-interest loan would be with the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority.

The problems with the city's aging sewer system was evident last week when heavy rains flooded several streets.

Video shot during Wednesday morning's severe storms showed streets in Downtown Albany flooded by the heavy rains.

"I mean I know the rains were much heavier than what we were expecting but it just showed the problems that we are having," said Commissioner B.J. Fletcher.

The problems the city is facing with an aging storm water and sewer system where water isn't draining off properly in some areas.

"In certain areas it has deteriorated to a point were it needs to be replaced," said Commissioner Tommie Postell.

"The price of waiting to do that until you have a major failure in one of your systems is too extreme for us," explained Phil Roberson, the Assistant City Manager.

An extreme consequence was luckily intercepted a year and a half ago, when a major underground sewer failure occurred near the Coats and Clark Plant.

"We didn't have a spill but we are lucky we didn't and we were able to capture it," said Roberson.

Mayor Dorothy Hubbard said that, "it's in need, dire need, of repair."

Repairs city leaders have said can't wait anymore.

"I am never comfortable about going into debt, borrowing money, but I am comfortable that this is the best thing for us to do in light of the fact that the interest rates are low," said Mayor Hubbard.

"We would hope that the money set aside in SPLOST would be enough to do these projects but we are talking about projects totaling $40 million. There is not enough money in the referendum to set aside for sewer infrastructure," explained Roberson.

City leaders said that a large bond will be paid in 2019 and they have enough leftover money from SPLOST 5 and 6 to make the payments on the loan until that bond expires, freeing up cash flow to pay off the loan.

Thomasville uses this same low-interest loan, with rates between one and two percent, for large projects like this.

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