Long-time Madison County Utility Director Steve Shaw has resigned from his position, effective Feb. 19. He has taken a job with the City of Elberton.

“I’ve enjoyed working with the county and seeing the system grow all these years,” said Shaw, noting that there are roughly 1,500 county customers compared to 350 when he started 14 years ago.

The county industrial authority is now advertising for a new water and wastewater system director. The job will pay $55,000 to $65,000, depending on experience.

In other industrial authority matters, IDA chairman Josh Chandler spoke with the group about asking the commissioners and the school board to consider allocating some of its property tax revenue from Georgia Renewable Power (GRP) to the IDA to help cover debt payments on the installation of a water line to serve the facility. The IDA is making the debt payments on the infrastructure, while the commissioners and the school board are handling most all of the tax revenue.

The IDA extended its closing date for its loan from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority to Nov. 21, 2021. Chandler said the extension is not a commitment to new loans, but it keeps the door open for a loan if needed.

Authority members discussed the $1 million from GRP set aside in an escrow account to help with the water line construction to serve the GRP plant. The authority and the company had over 20 versions of a “memorandum of understanding” (MOU) before the agreement was finalized. The IDA pushed for a clause that would protect the county if GRP went out of business, putting the company on the hook — not the county — for the cost of running a water line from Elbert County to the plant if the company failed. The IDA did not get that deal. Instead, the IDA was deeded a three-million gallon water tank with a value of roughly $1 million and another $1 million was set aside in an escrow account to help the IDA get started with construction. If GRP failed to meet a fall deadline on getting its “certificate of occupancy,” that $1 million would stay with the IDA. If the company met the deadline, the money would go back to GRP. The company failed to meet that deadline and the IDA is now in legal possession of the $1 million. Citizen Mack Adams spoke Jan. 28, asking the authority to commit to only using that money toward relief of the water line debt.

GRP also owes the county $206,000 for the water line construction outside of the escrow money. Industrial authority executive director Frank Ginn said Monday that GRP has performed considerable work for the IDA and he said forgiving the debt might be appropriate. IDA member Pat Mahoney said at the Jan. 28 meeting that she is not in favor of seeing the debt forgiven.

In a separate matter, Mahoney said the IDA needs to get to work on a water rate study and a strategic plan for water and sewer services.

BOC chairman John Scarborough discussed efforts to find a diplomatic solution with the City of Danielsville on water rates. The city recently significantly increased rates on the school system and county government. The county might explore the option of connecting to its own system which runs outside of Danielsville. Scarborough said that option is not the first one, but he said it is on the table.

“As a water authority there’s a logical tie with the county and we might purse whatever options are available to go through the IDA,” he said.

Chandler said he would like to schedule a meeting with new Danielsville Mayor Michael Wideman.

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