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State Will Not Seek Access to Hard Labor Creek Reservoir Water For Atlanta, Oconee County and Other Officials Predict

Hard Labor Creek Reservoir Project Manager Jimmy Parker said he does not expect the state to require that Oconee and Walton counties share water from the reservoir with Atlanta.

Although nothing can be certain until the state provides the loan contracts, Hard Labor Creek Reservoir Project Manager Jimmy Parker said he does not expect the state to require that Oconee and Walton counties share water from the reservoir with Atlanta as a condition for the $32 million in loans the state is offering.

That view is shared by Oconee County Attorney Daniel Haygood, who said that he did not expect the loan documents to make any reference to Atlanta and its water needs.

Haygood said he will be reading the contracts carefully to watch for just such a condition.

Those contracts are not expected to be available until Oct. 8, and Parker told the Hard Labor Creek Reservoir Management Board at its meeting on Aug. 21 that the two counties would have until Oct. 12 to complete their legal reviews.

Chris Atkinson will be Haygood's counterpart reviewing the documents for Walton County.

Oconee County’s share of the debt from the loans will be $9.2 million, and this will be added to the $42.2 million in debt the county already owes on bonds sold for its Utility Department.

The source of state funds for the $32 million in loans to Oconee and Walton counties isn’t clear. It seems much of it is money the state is borrowing by selling its own bonds.

For more details on the loans and the state water program, go to Oconee County Observations.

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