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Etowah Water seeks to borrow from GEFA
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The Etowah Water and Sewer Authority is looking for a state loan, instead of a grant, to finance the Russell Creek Reservoir project.

The authority board voted unanimously to apply for a $25.5 million loan from Georgia Environmental Finance Authority.

Etowah General Manager Brooke Anderson told the board last week that he preferred a loan over a grant, because with a grant the state could use the water in whatever manner it chooses.

When were looking at the grant money,we just dont have the water available to make that work, Anderson said after the meeting. We are opting for the loan programbecause it appears to be very attractive on the front end and allows us to maintain local control of the water supply.

If approved, the loan would fund all the construction for the project, he said. Mitigation and land acquisition were funded by Etowah.

Anderson said the authority will apply for the loan in April, hoping to get word back by late summer. Anderson said he feels confident about receiving the funding. I think we have a good project. Its a great project for us and for Dawson County.

The Russell Creek Reservoir is a 136-acre site that is expected to serve the water needs of Dawson County through 2050. Anderson said there will be a need for the reservoir in seven to 10 years. That gives us time to figure out the money part and wrap up the 404 permitting process and move into the detail and design phase, Anderson said.

Anderson said the authority has only one item remaining in obtaining its 404 permit. A 404 permit, issued by the U.S. Corps ofEngineers, is required whenever water the Corps has control over is affected.

The authority is developingits cumulative impact model and is expected to complete the process in 30 to 45 days. Once completed, the authority will submit a case document to the Corps. Anderson said he hopes to have the 404 permit by late summer.

In addition to its March work and voting sessions, the board also held its annual meeting for 2014, electing officersfor the year. Jim King was voted chair of the board, Lake Gibson vice-chair and Tony Kellar secretary.