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April 10--  The Lyons city council held a called meeting Monday night and agreed to move forward with a multi-million dollar loan from the Georgia Environmental Financing Authority.

City manager Jason Hall reports the city will be able to draw up to $14.8 million to upgrade its two wastewater treatment plants.

"We only have to borrow what we use, so as we begin the project, we will take draws out of that loan similar to a construction loan and at the end of the project the entire loan will start its repayment process.

"The maximum amount we can pull out of that loan is $14.8, but we all know we want it to come in well under that and that's why we went with this design-build process.  This is a good way to approach it so we can sit down with the contractor and the engineer at the same time and really look at what our options are," he said.

Earlier bids on the project were in the $17 million dollar range and prompted the city to look at other ways of finding an affordable solution. In the process, they talked with city officials in Valdosta.

"The City of Valdosta was one of the first cities to do a design-build process several years ago when they were under duress from a failing plant.  It was a quicker way for them to get the project built and it saved them some money at the end of the project," Hall said.

The city manager hopes the city will be able to identify a builder by this summer to expand capacity at the city's north plant and to renovate the east plant.

The 30-year loan has an interest rate of 2.67% and will be repaid using revenues generated by the water and sewer department.

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