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LCDA questions money for sewage plant
John McIver2
County Commission Chairman John McIver - photo by Courier file photo
The east-end sewage plant may still be waiting final permit approvals from the state, but the Liberty County Development Authority is still responsible for the bill.
And one LCDA member wants details on what has been spent.
“With the problem we have seen, I think it would be good for the board to provide a detail of our expenditures,” member John McIver said during Monday’s monthly meeting.
The proposed plant to be in Tradeport East Business Park was met with enough public scrutiny earlier this year for the state Environment Protection Division to delay issuing a wastewater discharge permit.
EPD is in the middle of an environmental field study on how up to three million gallons of treated wastewater may impact the Laurel View River basin.
Plans are for the study to be complete in October.
McIver asked to see a detailed expenditure report for the wastewater reclamation facility, between now and the authority’s Aug. 23 meeting.
Carmen Cole, LCDA administration and finance director, said the authority has spent $6.2 million on the estimated $30 million project.
But McIver, who is county commission chairman, wanted to see “who has been paid what as this project has moved forward from day one,” adding all the consultant fees.
In other business Monday, the board learned how a liaison is bringing money from the Small Business Administration closer to companies and entrepreneurs in a presentation from Coastal Area District Development Authority representatives Wendy Jeffers and Andrew Standard.
“I know SBA has picked up a bad name for being cumbersome, not worth the hassle,” said authority member Al Williams. “They’ve been turned off because there have been some tough stumbling blocks.”
CADDA is there to guide people through the loan application and filing process, its representatives said.
“Since the economic stimulus package has come into play … there’s been no better time that a borrower can come in … but people just don’t know it,” Standard said.
“We know the folks at SBA and how to push it through,” Jeffers said, citing commercial real estate as the biggest push.
Almost $58 million has been put in Liberty County since CADDA has marketed for SBA.
CADDA has helped more than 100 local businesses get SBA loans, highlighting successes of Western Sizzlin’, Professional Eye Care, Westwood Learning Center, Mach 1 Body Shop and several hotels.
LCDA can help spread the word.
“Because it’s the best-kept secret,” Standard said.
CADDA partners with banks and big businesses may know more about the program, but the word doesn’t always get to small businesses.
“Believe me, that’s needed. You cannot leave it at the top and expect it to filter down,” Williams said.
Member Brian Smith, who works at The Heritage Bank, agreed.
“We need to get the real fundamentals to what’s available to customers,” Smith said.
“Rarely do you get something for nothing but CADDA is the funding source for the small business owner,” Standard said. “You don’t get anything for free but this is one thing you do and that is great advice.”
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