South Hall sewer users could avoid the high sewer rates proposed by the county earlier this year.
The Hall County Board of Commissioners decided at its Monday work session to use SPLOST VI funds to help pay the debt owed on the Mulberry Creek Sewer Project. An actual vote will come at Thursday's 5 p.m. board meeting.
The high sewer rates are the result of little demand for sewer in the area.
“The economy is driving that also,” said Finance Director Michaela Thompson. “Some of the revenue to pay for that project comes from connections and usage fees, which are way lower than what was expected for the project.”
Hall County bought the Spout Springs sewer plant in 2007 in response to rapid growth in South Hall.
The plant was formerly a private facility that serviced three growing subdivisions — Sterling on the Lake, Reunion and The Village at Deaton Creek.
In order to accommodate the growth, the county also bought sewer capacity at Mulberry Creek from Gainesville.
County officials expected the South Hall area to continue booming, but the recession put a damper on the growth.
“By doing this resolution, then we can use SPLOST VI for the total debt of the project to kind of offset where we had the declines in the other revenue,” Thompson said. “But one of the biggest things is it will allow us to have more flexibility to set users rates.”
The resolution will transfer the Mulberry Creek project to the Gainesville/Hall County Development Authority.
“It’s just a transfer in how the debt will be paid. The debt will be paid by us to the authority and the authority will pay GEFA. It’s just our ability to use all of the SPLOST funds for the debt if we need to. It’s just a flexibility issue,” Thompson said.