Council OK’s Utilities Bond

WINNSBORO (Sept. 8, 2016) – Town Council gave final reading Tuesday night on an ordinance that will allow the Town to borrow up to $6 million to make improvements to their utility system.

According to the ordinance, the funds will provide for the rehabilitation of Winnsboro’s wastewater treatment plant and related sewer improvements; construction, replacement and rehabilitation of electric distribution lines and substation breakers; and construction and extension of natural gas lines and “cathodic improvements.”

“Cathodic improvements,” Town Manager Don Wood explained after a meeting last month, essentially means the grounding of natural gas lines to prevent electrical discharges into the lines. The replacement of some of the Town’s power lines, Wood said, was necessary because some of those lines are undersized by modern standards.

“They were OK when we put them (the lines) in,” Wood said last month, “but we have more people on the system now and people use more electricity now.”

“Most small towns our size, their infrastructure – water, sewer – most of the stuff under the ground has been there for quite some time, for years we’ve been doing a lot of patchwork,” Gaddy told colleagues at last June’s intergovernmental meeting. “Hopefully (with the bond) we can do larger stretches of infrastructure and get it to where it’s up to snuff and we don’t have as much problems with it – not that we’re always putting out fires, but as everything else, including me, its aging and wearing out.”

The infrastructure improvements come ahead of the Town’s other major project – running a raw water line from the Broad River to the reservoir. That project, which is estimated to cost approximately $13 million, is expected to bring between 8 and 10 million gallons of water a day into Winnsboro’s system.

Margaret Pope, of the Pope Zeigler Law Firm, said one of the objectives of taking on the $6 million debt before tackling the Broad River line project was to get a better rating from the State Revolving Fund (SRF) when it came time to borrow the $13 million.

“If we get a good rating, then it will help us demonstrably on how much money the SRF requires,” Pope said.

Typically, Pope said, the Fund requires a borrower to deposit one year’s worth of debt service into a reserve fund.

“It has to sit there. It’s a rainy day fund in case you can’t pay,” Pope said. “We have convinced (the SRF) that if we get a good enough rating to waive that. That’s a huge savings. This (the Broad River project) is the big issue, so we kind of strategized that.”

Capital Expenditures

Council also gave the OK Tuesday to a total of $5,600 in capital expenditures for the Water Department. That total will cover a nitrate/TDS field monitor ($3,800), which Wood said would monitor the breakdown monochloramine in the water system; a computer for the wastewater lab ($1,400); and a leaf blower ($400) for cleaning grounds along pump stations.