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Oakwood to save $1.6 million through sewer debt refinancing
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Oakwood refinanced its sewer debt Wednesday, a move that’s expected to save taxpayers about $1.6 million over 20 years.

City Council voted to approve an agreement with the Gainesville-Hall County Development Authority issuing revenue bonds that will, in effect, reduce Oakwood’s interest rate on some $11 million in debt to 1.73 percent from 4.18 percent.

“That’s exactly what we should do with taxpayer money — save all the money we can,” Mayor Lamar Scroggs said. “It’s a good move for the city.”

The bonds will pay off debt the city incurred through the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority for a sewer expansion project with Braselton.

“For us, it was the right thing to do,” City Manager Stan Brown said. “The market was good. There was a short supply (of municipal bonds) … and we had a good bond rating.”

Oakwood is hoping to turn the switch on its newly expanded system this fall.

The South Hall city doesn’t operate its own sewer system but offers the utility through agreements with area governments.

Oakwood has been working with Braselton since 2006 to upgrade its system along Winder Highway/Ga. 53.

As part of the effort, the city built gravity-flow lines, a force main and a pump station that will carry sewer to Braselton in Jackson County.

Overall, the move will allow Oakwood city to buy up to 2.5 million gallons per day of capacity.

“We were kind of dormant for a while because of the economy,” Brown said. “There was no high sense of urgency to get this (project) finished.”

But today, Oakwood is going through a resurgence of sorts, with commercial and industrial development taking place in different areas, including on Ga. 53.

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