Grants Being Sought for Sewer Expansion Project

Potential grant funds could help Toccoa and Stephens County push forward on the expansion of sewer on Big A Road and the Toccoa By-pass.

Monday, Toccoa City Commissioners approved entering into an agreement with the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission to apply for two grants to help pay for the project.

According to Stephens County Development Authority Executive Director Tim Martin, they would apply for two $300,000 grants, one from the Appalachian Regional Commission and one from the Economic Development Administration.

If Toccoa and Stephens County receives the $300,000 ARC grant, Martin said they have identified improvements at an existing part of the infrastructure as the top priority.

“We are looking specifically up front at the Meadowbrook lift station, since that is such a choke point,” said Martin. “Everything south of the community flows through that lift station.”

Martin said that project would cost about $860,000, with the rest of the funds coming from the $2 million pot of money created by the city and county through SPLOST V.

Currently, $1.8 million remains out of those SPLOST funds.

Martin said that staff continues to work to identify which part of the project would benefit most from the EDA grant if it is received.

According to officials, it will take about $5.5 million to build the proposed water and sewer improvements on Big A Road between Rose Lane and the Toccoa By-pass, as well as the By-pass between Big A Road and a location near the intersection of the By-pass and Highway 106.

Engineers have said that while the $5.5 million would not completely build the project, it would provide the ability for the city to get sewer service to a property along those corridors quickly as needed for potential development.

Martin said the plan is to build the project over a number of years in order to best leverage local money to obtain funding from grants and other sources.

“The genius in splitting up this project into multiple years is to afford us the opportunity to apply in multiple funding years (for grants) from state and federal entities,” said Martin.

Martin said word on whether the grants are received should come in late summer or early fall.

If the grants are received, the city and county would have to pay the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission a fee of up to $15,000.

City commissioners approved the agreement contingent on splitting any fees equally between the city and the county out of the remaining SPLOST funds set aside for this project.