Saluda borrows $150K from fund balance for Laurel Drive lift station project

Published 10:24 pm Wednesday, March 9, 2016


By Leah Justice

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The City of Saluda is on its way to making major repairs to the Laurel Drive lift station as well as other capital improvement (CIP) projects in its water and sewer system.

The Saluda Board of Commissioners held a special meeting on Feb. 29 and approved borrowing $150,000 from its fund balance to replace approximately 4,000 feet of a discharge line at the Laurel Drive lift station. The line will be replaced from the lift station to the corner of Ozone Drive and U.S. 176.

Prior to taking out the $150,000, Saluda had a 55 percent fund balance in its general fund. The loan means the city’s fund balance still remains at 39 percent and recent rate increases will pay the city back for the loan with 2.5 percent interest.

Engineer Jonathan Hollifield has already completed the conceptual design of the discharge line with commissioners authorizing Hollifield during the special meeting to design the project.

Saluda City Manager Jonathan Cannon said he hopes to begin digging on the Laurel Drive project no later than June of this year.

Eventually the city hopes to replace the entire Laurel Drive lift station but for now the station only needs repairs, such as to its plumbing and electrical and adding a notification system.

Saluda is applying for a USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) loan for approximately $2 million to complete the city’s entire CIP. The city plans to complete 16 projects with the loan and to be approved for the loan sometime this year. Recent rate increases will pay back the city’s loan from its fund balance as well as the USDA loan.

Saluda recently had a 70 percent water loss in its system and a growing CIP for water and sewer needs. Council approved water and sewer rate increases earlier this year to pay for repairs to the system. The rate increases include a $10 per month added system maintenance fee for all customers this year and increases to the base bill as well as increases to rates per 1,000 gallons over the minimum.

Customers have already seen the increases for this year and more increases have been approved for 2017 and 2018 in order to pay for the approximate $2 million in needed repairs.