Clinton City Council moves forward with $2.7 million loan for sewer upgrades | New

The city of Clinton could potentially increase its debt — while completing a much-needed sewer upgrade — with council’s decision on Monday to move forward with a $2.7 million loan request.

The city will seek the money from the South Carolina Water Quality Revolving Fund Authority in the form of a loan from the State Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund.

Most of the money will go to improving the Florida Street Sewage Pump Station, while adding the Stone Creek Development Sewage Pump Station.

The Stone Creek development is proposed by DR Horton for the construction of 800 to 1,000 houses on property adjacent to Eastside Elementary School. Water and sewer will run along East Main Street. In total, this is a $4.3 million project, for which the City has already committed to paying $1.6 million.

That $1.6 million comes from ARPA funds, and the city also receives Laurens County Capital Projects Sales Tax money for other water, sewer, and of streets throughout the city. The CPRT was approved for 16 projects countywide by a majority of Laurens County voters on November 3, 2020.

(ARPA = Biden Administration’s COVID-19 US Bailout Act).

The state loan would be at 1% interest.

“We’ve run a deficit every year for the last 5 years – we’re adding to our credit debt,” Mayor Bob McLean said, “but 1% is basically free money. Can we tighten our belts and align our budgets?

There is some controversy over the mayor’s ‘running deficit’ comment, but it’s undeniable that the City is eager for the DR Horton project to come online, bringing with it hundreds of residents who would be taxed, electric , water -, sewer and garbage customers paying the city and local business buyers.

The developer would be responsible for infrastructure within Stone Creek Development.

This was not explained at the July 11 meeting, but here is an overview of the project provided in a previously published Notice of Town of Clinton Public Meeting:

“The Florida Street Sewage Pump Station and Water Main Project includes the replacement of the existing Florida Street Pump Station along with approximately 4,800 linear feet of 6-inch main force to divert the line from passing under rail tracks. The City will also discuss the Stone Creek Development Sewage Pump Station and Penstock Project, which includes a new pump station and approximately 4,500 linear feet of 6-inch penstock from the Stone Creek Development. Additionally, approximately 2,220 linear feet of 8-inch force main will also be constructed to tie sewage streams into an existing manhole.

When the City requests it and if the loan is granted, the repayment will become part of the City’s budget. The July 11 action does not commit the City to borrow the money, only to request the loan. Acquiring $2.7 million for this project could free up the city to apply the previously approved $1.6 million to a related water project – lines on East Main Street and Elm Street.

The City should have a decision on the loan in 60 days. Even then, these might not be locked in the numbers – construction costs are rising 1-2% per month due to inflation, supply chain and labor issues work.

A motion to request the loan, with a 30-year repayment, passed unanimously.

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