Saluda receives approval for $1.9 million USDA loan for CIP

Published 10:00 pm Friday, May 12, 2017

SALUDA – The City of Saluda received word recently the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) has obligated $1.9 million to complete 16 needed water and sewer projects.

The Saluda Board of Commissioners met Monday, May 8 and heard from city manager Jon Cannon that the city has been approved for the loan.

Cannon said the city still has a lot of work to do prior to beginning construction, including final plans and specifications from the city’s engineer. Saluda has 16 projects outlined in its capital improvement plan (CIP) to accomplish with the loan.

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Saluda approved rate increases to pay back the loan that went into effect last year with other increases beginning in January of this year and another increase planned for January 2018 for water and sewer rates.

Cannon said if everything goes as planned regarding the requirements of the USDA loan, he hopes for the city to break ground on the projects next year. City attorney Jana Berg will also have to complete work such as deeds, easements and rights of way prior to construction beginning. 

“We still have a ways to go,” Cannon said. “It will be next year before we see earth moved in this project.”

Commissioners also approved this week setting up two new bank accounts per USDA requirements for the project, including a construction account and a reserve account. Commissioners approved setting up those accounts at Entegra Bank.

Commissioner Mark Oxtoby thanked Cannon and city staff for their work getting the USDA loan. Oxtoby said more was accomplished in the last year than the city has accomplished in three years concerning the projects.

Cannon said last year with the rate increases he expects for the city to generate an additional $120,000 per year in order to pay back the loan.

Some of the projects on the CIP include replacing the Laurel Drive lift station and water and sewer line replacements along Florida Avenue and Shand Street. Other planned projects include to refurbish the city’s water tank, update its primary booster station, replace water and sewer lines on Columbia Avenue and Hart Street, as well as several others.