Sewer Design Bid Approved

Local officials are moving forward with the design of proposed major wastewater system enhancements.

Monday, the Toccoa City Commission unanimously approved Goodwyn, Mills, and Cawood of Atlanta, Georgia to design the project at a cost of $173,974.

The project will involve designing approximately 55,705 feet of sewer line and about 10,000 feet of waterline to expand wastewater service down Big A Road and then south into industrial areas of the county, with the proposed water enhancements included to ensure adequate support for the sewer enhancements.

Stephens County Development Authority Executive Director Tim Martin said that officials are working to finalize the contract so the firm can get started quickly.

“Behind that, we are assembling the utility team that will work with the design team to identify specific parcels, surveyors will have to be engaged in the process,” said Martin. “This is just the beginning of a very detailed, next 4 or 5 or 6 month process to get to those final construction drawings.”

According to Martin, the design work is to be complete by next July.

Stephens County and the city of Toccoa have each set aside $1 million out of SPLOST V receipts, for a total of $2 million, towards this project. The money for the design work is coming out of those funds.

While that $2 million was a local match designed to obtain $8 million in additional federal funding to help build the entire project, the $8 million was approved was never appropriated and local officials have decided to begin moving forward without the federal funding.

Martin said that local officials will pursue other sources of funding.

He explained that the design firm will provide a preliminary engineering report in December that will help the city, county, and Development Authority pursue possible funding alternatives.

“With that PER, we will be able to go to the various potential funding sources, Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority, U.S.D.A. Rural Development, and others, to explain what our project is and see what, if any, of their programs, would be available to help us fund the construction,” said Martin.

Even without other funding sources, the city and county would still have $1.8 million in SPLOST funds saved towards the project.

Martin said that could be put towards starting the project if it was so chosen.

He said that right now, the highest priority area appears to be Big A Road, south of Rose Lane and Fernside Drive.

“A 2006 study suggested that our highest priority was Big A (Road) south of the intersection of Rose Lane (and) Fernside (Drive) to Wal-Mart, to the Parkway (Toccoa By-pass),” said Martin. “Consisently, from 2006 until today, that has still remained the highest priority. As we get into the study itself, we may realize to do that we need to do this.”

According to Martin, that preliminary engineering report will provide more information as to how the project should proceed.