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Oconee and Walton Counties Get Loans from State for Hard Labor Creek Reservoir Project

The state of Georgia Wednesday announced approval of $32 million in loans to Oconee and Walton counties to allow them to move forward with construction of the Hard Labor Creek Reservoir.

The state of Georgia Wednesday announced approval of $32 million in loans to Oconee and Walton counties to allow them to move forward with construction of the Hard Labor Creek Reservoir in Walton County.

The two counties have halted construction on the reservoir because they cannot justify raising additional money in the regular bond market because there is no current need for water from the reservoir.

The state loans will give the two counties money to build the dam to create the reservoir. They will not provide sufficient money to build a water treatment plant or distribution system for any water such a plant would produce.

One long-term criticism of the project has been that it would produce a lake that would benefit landowners in Walton County rather than serve the need of water customers in the two counties.

For additional information on the loans and on the project, go to Oconee County Observations.

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Racer X August 02, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Um, I'm not too bright. Can you help me here? Why can't we just save up the money and pay cash when we can afford it instead of getting a loan?
Georgia Democrat August 02, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Here you go, Mikey: By the time that much money is saved up, the future cost of the project will exceed the cost of borrowing now. Also, there's climate change. We're in a severe draught this summer, and odds are this is not an isolated occurence, so that's reason enough. I bet that water will be needed long before the money could be saved.
Racer X August 02, 2012 at 06:24 PM
GD- Do you know what the projected term of the loan would be?
Stephanie Gross August 02, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Hi Mike, There are more details about the loans here: http://oconee.patch.com/articles/walton-and-oconee-counties-get-32-million-loan-for-hard-labor-creek-project
Racer X August 03, 2012 at 11:00 AM
Hi Stephanie, Thanks for the link. It was very informative. 40 year term, nearly no interest. If you need a loan, that's the way to do it :-) Do you know if there is access to a long term budget and the rest of the details for this program? Since this only covers building the lake, it would be interesting to know a realistic projected cost for everything it would take to make it an actual water source for Oconee County residents. It would also be interesting to see what our annual expenses will be for upkeep after the project is completed. Since whatever happens upstream affects folks downstream it would be nice to know what those affects would be. Lastly, I hope our contract with Walton County is well written enough to protect Oconee County against any short comings that Walton County may suffer for the next 40 years. For example, if Walton County were to default would Oconee County then be left holding the bag?

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