Council pulls trigger on tower
InÂ a unique public/private partnership, the City of Rutledge will begin construction ofÂ a nearly $800,000 water tower in September.
At a special called meeting Wednesday, the council unanimously approved a resolution awarding a $777,482 contract to Louisville, Ky. â€" based Caldwell Tanks, Inc for the construction of a 400,000 gallon water tank. The tank will be constructed south of Rutledge near Fears Road and will have the ability to service, in part, an additional 1,000 water customers.
Funding for the tower comes from a $477,232 Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA) loan and a $300,250 noâ€"interest loan from the Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Development Company (WREDC). According to Rutledge City Council Member Tom Strott, the loan has a 10-year commitment with payback coming as the city collects tapâ€"on fees for the new system. Currently the city of Rutledge charges $2,500 per tapâ€"on fee. Strott said at full capacity, the tank investment could triple. â€œThe revenue should exceed the cost of the tank two or three times,â€� he said. According to the agreement, the city will pay WREDC $1,500 of each tapâ€"on fee for customers added to the cityâ€™s water system that are serviced by the new tank. If the WREDC loan is not fulfilled in the 10-year period, the loan will be forgiven, loan documents state.
The tank will facilitate the development of a 184 home subdivision for WREDC. The proposed Walnut Ridge subdivision is off Davis Academy Road near the intersection of Davis Academy and Fears Road. WREDC donated a one acre tract on 616 acres it owns to the city for the water tank.
With the approval of the bid, the city will now begin well exploration to find a water source to supply the tank. Rutledge Mayor Spencer Knight said Wednesday that WREDC had also committed $100,000 towards the search for a new well. That well will need to produce a minimum of 55,000 gallons a day to service the tank. If the $100,000 is exceeded, the city will be responsible for the balance of finding a new well.
Marty Boyd, an engineer with Watkinsvilleâ€"based Carter and Sloope, presented the bid to the council. Sloope said construction of the tank could act as a â€œcatalystâ€� for development in the Rutledge area. He also said once onâ€"line the tank would proved greater pressure and fire protection for homeowners in the Fears Road/ Centennial road area. Boyd said currently water pressure and fire protection along Centennial and Fears Road â€œis very, very limited.â€�
â€œWhile it meets the guidelines, it just marginally meets it.â€�
Boyd said funding for the project was unusual. â€œItâ€™s a pretty unique situation. We ad a lot of discussion with GEFA because they had never had public â€" private partnership like this.â€�