Stimulus could fund local projects

29 01 2009


Diane Wagner | Rome News-Tribune

Local officials are prepared to seek federal stimulus funding for projects, although neither Rome nor Floyd County have prepared comprehensive lists.“I’ve heard other cities are doing it, but who do you give it to? Just send it to the White House?” City Manager John Bennett said.

Provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 — the stimulus package — funnel much of the money through various federal agencies to their state counterparts.

Bennett said if the Georgia Environmental Protection Division calls for projects, the city would submit plans for a sewer lift station on Horseleg Creek.

Rome also has a five-year plan to improve low-income sections of the city using federal entitlement funds. Some of those projects could be eligible for stimulus money flowing through the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

The Georgia Department of Transportation also has a statewide list of “shovel-ready” road projects that includes center turn lanes on Ga. 53. The 411 Connector was a last-minute addition, but the state still needs to buy the right of way so it’s unlikely to fit the stimulus package requirements.

“Quite frankly, we don’t have a lot of projects that are ready to go,” Bennett said. “There are some street pavings, drainage work and sidewalk improvements we’d like to submit. But we don’t have plans for a new city hall, for example.”

County Manager Kevin Poe said the county is in a similar position. Officials are lobbying the DOT to add funding for the west leg of the South Rome bypass, he said, but it’s unclear what other projects could be eligible.

“The only thing that would be shovel-ready is the Armuchee Connector,” he said. “But we’re trying to stay away from federal dollars on that because there are more hoops to jump through.”

The $12-million road and bridge across the Oostanaula River that would link State Mutual Stadium with Old Summerville Road north of Rome is part of the 2006 special purpose, local option sales tax package.

Using stimulus money to pay for sidewalk and drainage projects on Lyons Drive and the Pennington Avenue area could, however, solve a looming problem for the city.

Continue Reading Here.

Georgia Power: Nuclear critics’ data is flawed

28 01 2009


MARGARET NEWKIRK | The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia Power fired back at critics this week, saying dire warnings about the cost of its proposal to collect fees upfront for nuclear power expansion were mistaken.

In testimony filed with the state Public Service Commission late Monday, the utility said critics including the PSC’s public advocacy staff had mixed accounting apples and oranges to come up with their estimates. Those critics will have an opportunity to cross-examine the company in two weeks.

The company also blasted a cost-control mechanism proposed by the state PSC staff.

Under that plan, the PSC could roll back Georgia Power’s allowed return on its $6.4 billion nuclear investment if the construction project ran too far over budget.

Georgia Power said no dice.

“We must start by emphatically stating that we cannot and will not agree to the staff’s proposed ‘incentive’ plan,” the company said in the testimony.

“We will not accept a certificate that includes those regulatory conditions,” it said.

The company said its business depends on offering low rates, which is cost-control incentive enough.

Georgia Power’s rebuttal came on the eve of a state Senate committee hearing about a bill that would give the company the early funding it wants, bypassing the PSC.

The Senate Regulated Industry and Utility Committee will hear testimony on Senate Bill 31 Wednesday afternoon.

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$2.5 million GEFA loan to aid Bartow’s water service

28 01 2009


Rome News-Tribune

Bartow County will receve $2.5 million through the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA) to finance the installation and the relocation of water lines.“The Georgia Fund loan program is a tangible commitment by Governor Perdue and the General Assembly to assist local governments across the state with their efforts to provide clean water and sewer improvements,” said Chris Clark, executive director of GEFA.

Clark expressed appreciation to Gov. Sonny Perdue, State Senators Bill Heath and Preston Smith and State Representatives Tom Graves, Barry Loudermilk and Paul Battles for their support.

The Georgia Fund is a state funded program administered by GEFA for water, wastewater and solid waste infrastructure projects. The program has maximum flexibility and accessibility, and offers fast loan and grant approvals. The Georgia Fund provides loans and grants to local governments for projects such as water and sewer lines, treatment plants, pumping stations, wells, water storage tanks and water meters. Low interest loans from this program are available up to $10 million.

2009 – 9th Annual GRN Conference

28 01 2009

Maximize Your Impact, Protect Your River
Friday, February 20 and Saturday, February 21, 2009
The Classic Center in Athens, GA

The conference will feature:

  • Keynote Speakers
    Saving Water, Saving Money – Mary Ann Dickinson, Alliance for Water Efficiency
    Communication About Water Issues in America – Ezra Milchman, River Network (national), President & CEO

    An Update on Georgia’s Statewide Water Plan and Current State Legislative and Policy Issues – Neill Herring, Sierra Club; Jill Johnson of Georgia Conservation Voters; Shana Udvardy, Georgia Conservancy
    Overview of the Altamaha Basin – Ben Emanuel, Georgia River Survey

  • Three informative tracks on Saturday:
    Water Efficiency:
    The Solution to Georgia’s Water Supply Problems – Featuring presentations on how Georgia can embrace water efficiency and address our water supply problems.
    Success Stories for Georgia’s Watersheds– Featuring presentations on projects to prevent pollution in our rivers and building our strength for bigger impact.
    Working In Your Watershed – Featuring presentations on monitoring pollution and the health of our rivers.
    Track chaired by Georgia Adopt-A-Stream
  • Friday Workshops
    “Communication for Impact” Erick Eckl, Water Words That Work
    “Get the Dirt Out: Train the Trainer” Jason Ulseth and Juliet Cohen, Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper
    Train people in your community to spot problems on local construction sites, who to call if you see a problem, and how to follow up with the authorities to make sure the problems get fixed. Field trip incuded!
  • A Friday Night Party and Auction featuring Awards, music by the Georgia Mudcats, food and drinks
  • Fifth Annual River Celebration Awards honoring Georgia’s watershed groups, volunteers and river conservationists
  • Networking opportunities
  • Exhibits

Atlanta Audubon Society Holds Photo Contest

28 01 2009

The Atlanta Audubon Society is looking for amazing images of birds, animals and habitat. Entries must have been photographed since 1/1/08 and be received by midnight on 2/23/09. Prizes will be offered. All entries will be displayed at the Speaker Series event to be held on the weekend of March 21-22. Click here to learn more.


Four Days Left for Public Comments on Metro Water Plans

28 01 2009

January 31 is the last day to submit public comments on the Metro District Water Plans which will serve as the blueprint for managing our water supply in the 15-county metro Atlanta area for the next 25 years. The plan weakens our region’s conservation goals and fails to protect water quality.

You can let the Metro District know that water conservation and clean water matter to you! Click here to urge the Metro District to embrace water conservation and help ensure that we have enough clean water for now and in the future.

To learn more, see the @ issue section of the January 25 Atlanta Journal-Constitution here or go to UCR’s website here

Meeting set for proposed sewage treatment plant

27 01 2009


Tim Guidera | WTOC 11

Questions, concerns and information will be on the agenda in a town meeting at Port Wentworth City Hall tonight as a proposed sewage treatment plant in the city is discussed.

Residents are invited to meet with representatives of Georgia Environmental Protection Division and discuss the project slated for a 22-acre site on O’Leary Road off Highway 21.

“EPD’s coming in from Atlanta,” said Port Wentworth mayor Glenn Jones. “And they’re going to open their doors, our city hall doors, to anybody who wants to speak to basically listen to what we’re going to be doing for our wastewater treatment facility.”

The courtroom at Port Wentworth City Hall will be set up with seven tables where people can get information and ask questions about the project for an hour, beginning at 7pm. Then, at 8pm, there will be a public hearing where people can put their comments on the record.

“People will be able to write your comments in letter form and they will take them home, back to Atlanta and respond to them,” said Jones.

Continue Reading Here.