Opposition to Town’s Request for Grant Money from the Hamilton County Development Agency.
1. The receipt of these funds, $250,000, will NOT CREATE any jobs but will only BE THE SEED money for a grant to do maintenance work, work that should have been funded in a “sinking fund” over the last 12-14 years.
2. The Town has received approximately 2 million dollars from Community Development Block Grants in the past 12-14 years which was spent on sewer expansion, not sewer maintenance.
3. In the last 12-14 years the town has been operating with a relatively free of maintenance sewer plant which was built in the first half of the 2000, I believe in 2002. What did they do with the money that should have been saved for future repairs and replacement of Sewer Pipes?
4. The use of these funds is to provide seed money for a loan to replace the sewer pipes in existing not new sections of town that sorely need replacement of pipes. But replaced pipes will not create any jobs, lower the costs of living or bring in any new businesses or housing developments into Hamilton County.
5. The funds for the 3.217 million dollar Sewer Pipe Replacement project will come from a state revolving loan of which a sizable percentage (92.75 %) is forgiven. The town has the money to pay the “seed money” that the Town hopes to get the HCDA to give them. Such a grant is for approximately $250,000. This HCDA Grant is NOT Necessary for the project to go forward.
6. We know the town has the money because just this year the town INCREASED its annual operating budget to 1.4 Million from 1.1 Million. And the Town raised its Sewer Rates to 250% over any other town in the tri-county area; making the average sewer/water/trash bill over $110.00 per month. I’ve heard of some horror stories of 3 to 4 hundred dollars a month from residences. Businesses are being hit especially hard. And now they want the Hamilton County Development Board to fund something which will create ZERO jobs and do nothing for business incubation or business growth.
If this board wants to create jobs NOW then they should deny this grant request in favor of a request that has a legitimate chance of creating jobs OR make as a condition of approval of this grant that the town lower its sewer and water bills to “Normal” levels and help current White Springs residents that way. You cannot have high sewer rates and new, if any, jobs at the same time, it just doesn’t work that way.
I say help the citizens of White Springs and the businesses of White Springs and especially any new businesses that might move into White Springs but won’t because of the high cost of doing business with the Town. Deny the Grant or Lower Sewer Bills. It is in your power to do so and save money for creating jobs sooner rather than a “Pie in the Sky” later.
The town needs help but not in the way they think. They need to help their citizens with either jobs or a lower cost of living. Since the project they are proposing can 1. Be paid for using existing funds, not HCDA funds. 2. Won’t create any new jobs in the first place and finally 3. The seed money could have been paid for out of a sinking fund that the Town could have had for the last 12 years. I say we need to spend our money to provide economic opportunity, to create JOBS. PCS is downsizing. Hamilton County has lost over 100 jobs in the last six months, jobs that are not coming back.
This project’s seed money might be fine for the residents of White Springs in a tertiary capacity. The project is definitely needed. BUT it doesn’t create any new opportunities: It doesn’t create any new or good jobs.
I urge this board to proceed with the utmost caution to not benefit the political structure of White Springs at the expense of the citizens and Job creators in White Springs. Lower the Sewer Bills or Deny the Grant. It is the only way to create JOBS.