Hard Labor Creek to Get State Funding for Reservoir Project
Officials with the Hard Labor Creek Project learned Friday that the project has definitely been awarded state funding to help complete the project - they just don't know how much.
Walton County Board of Commissions Chairman Kevin Little was able to announce Friday that the Hard Labor Creek project is in line for state funding - he just wasn't able to say how much.
"I've just got off a conference call with GEFA - they are giving money for Hard Labor Creek and we are getting some money," Little told members of the TRIAD meeting on Friday morning. "The official announcement will be made on Aug. 1, and then we'll know how much we're getting. We asked for $32 million. We're not sure how much of that we're getting but we do know we're in the top two."
Little said he believed they were going to try and give out a little to everybody so he wasn't able to say exactly what the award would be until the Aug. 1 announcement. A special meeting of the Hard Labor Creek Reservoir Project Board has been called for 1 p.m. Tuesday, July 10, to discuss the funding. The meeting will be at the Walton County Board of Commission offices, 303 Hammond Drive, in Monroe.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal last year approved low-interest loans to help ensure the state has an adequate and sustainable water supply for the future. Local officials working on the Hard Labor Creek Reservoir Project immediately put in for their share of the funding.
Walton County has been working on the Hard Labor Creek Reservoir since 1994 and Oconee County joined in on the project in 1999. Although it has stayed on track, once land acquisitions have been completed the project will be about $32 million short of funding required to complete the dam and reservoir. If the new water treatment plant is included, it is likely to come up more than $90 million short.
The following comes from the minutes of the June 26 agenda-setting meeting of the Oconee County Board of Commissioners, provided by County Clerk Gina Lindsey Hansford:
Hard Labor Creek Reservoir Project Update: Jimmy Parker of Precision Planning, Inc.presented an update on the Hard Labor Creek Reservoir Project and the Governor’s Water Supply Program application. Mr. Parker reported permitting, design and mitigation are 100% complete. Land acquisition is 71% complete, with 20% in the negotiation stages and 9% remaining. He stated the project is under budget and shovel ready. Local funding invested to date is $59M.
Additional funding of $32M is required to complete the project. Mr. Parker explained an application has been made for Direct State Investment funding through the Governor’s Water Supply Program.
14 applications were submitted, with Hard Labor Creek as the only project fully permitted and ready for construction. Final awards are expected to be made in late July or early August.
Deal’s plan encourages the state to offer loans to projects such as this in an effort to expand Georgia’s water supply. He has pledged $300 million to help sure up the states water resources. Officials with the Hard Labor Creek project said the governor’s Water Supply Program will provide funding through either low interest loans or grant funding.
Correction: The date of the special called meeting was incorrect in the original report. It has been changed.