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11-5-07 Hard Labor Creek Reservoir - little more than “Hope and Political Promise” for Oconee County - See Appeal in Bond case

Oconee’s share in Hard Labor Creek Reservoir – First Phase is 3.5 MGD for $ 66 Million!!! Oconee has “gone through” 7.5 MGD at Bear Creek in less than five years! And HLC won’t come online until at least 2014…. ……. The total payback on $ 66,000,000 at 4.4% for 30 years is $ 118,980,792.26. The monthly payment will be $ 303,520.20 once all the bonds are issued.

AVOC

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November 3, 2007

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Hard Labor Creek Reservoir may be little more than “Hope and Political Promise” for Oconee County

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By Wendell Dawson, Editor, AVOC, Inc

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Oconee’s share in Hard Labor Creek Reservoir – First Phase is 3.5 MGD for $ 66 Million!!!  Oconee has “gone through” 7.5 MGD at Bear Creek in less than five years!   And HLC won’t come online until at least 2014 – after the terms of office of the current county leadership!

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THINK ABOUT THAT AND PUT A PENCIL TO IT.

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It is interesting to see news articles talking about Oconee’s water plans for a future reservoir.Unfortunately, in my opinion, the Hard Labor Creek Project (at least for Oconee) is mostly “smoke and mirrors”.

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HLC gives some folks hope and an impression that something is being done.However, I think the relief is illusory.   If citizens “accept” this ‘bogus plan”, then the Oconee BOC can keep the engines wide open for the “RUNAWAY GROWTH LOCOMOTIVE”!!  

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There will never be enough water for the rate of growth of the last five years.   The current “leadership” will be long gone when the mistake and costs of these ill-advised decisions will become a realization to many people.  

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While AVOC expresses no opinion on the legal issues involved, the Appeal Brief filed in the Walton HLC bond validation case, makes some good points for consideration.

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CLICK ON THESE LINKS

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HARD LABOR CREEK Bond Litigation

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Hay.Sam.HLC.10.07.Appeal_Bond_Approval_HLC.pdfx

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GEORGIA RESERVOIR COMMENTS

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10-26-07_Sam_Hay_on_Reservoirs_and_Water.pdfx


10-31-07 COF- Hard Labor Creek Cost and Drought Issues

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Citizens for Oconee's Future, Inc
P. O. Box 1301
Watkinsville, GA 30677

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October 31, 2007

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Oconee BOC, Debt and “Water Planning”

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By Charles Baugh

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The hearing to validate the $ 66,000,000 Oconee County bond issue for its 3.5 million gallons per day share will be held at 9:30 AM Nov. 6th at the Walton County Courthouse, Monroe, GA. Citizens who wish to intervene should read the legal announcement published in the Oconee Enterprise 10/25/07 and proceed accordingly.

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The Tuesday night Board of Commissioners meeting was quite a spectacle, primarily for what was missing.  While they spent a considerable amount of time congratulating themselves on how well they have handled the water "crises" and how much water consumption has dropped, not a word was mentioned about the fact that water revenue drops along with reduced water consumption.  All that projected revenue used to justify spending so much on so little in Walton County will evaporate just as quickly as the Bear Creek water has evaporated.

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Not a word was mentioned about long term water use reductions such as limiting rezones, building permits etc.  Just a lot of talk about finding other sources such as wells.  I believe without a doubt this crowd would spend every last cent the citizens could produce and pump the ground dry just to keep rezoning and building.  Its disgusting.  

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Just keep in mind that all references to more reservoirs are not for your benefit.  Additional reservoirs come with additional users.  If we had 10 more reservoirs and all the people to go with them we would be in the same situation we are now in, just 10 times worse.


10-30-07 Some make case against reservoirs

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GEORGIA’S WATER CRISIS

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October 29, 2007

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“RESERVOIRS BE DAMNED, THEY DAM THE STREAMS”

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By Hoke Thomas

404-386-1256

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Reservoirs do not produce water, only streams do. During our current water crisis, public attention has been focused on the impending lack of raw water in the most populated and industrialized areas of Georgia. No rivers flow thorough our state, they all originate within our boundaries, therefore we are totally dependent upon rainfall to supply our needs. We are now experiencing a lack of rainfall.

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Residual water from previous rainfall continues to flow in a reduced state within our streams. This stream flow must be used in the most efficient manner: withdraw, filter, use, treat and discharge back into the streams. This process known as “Real Time Water Usage” is our only salvation. This is the only procedure that will allow us all to share the water, promote downstream ecology, enhance aquatic life, provide safe spawning areas for migratory fish, adhere to the guide lines set forth by the Endangered Species Act and stop the process of obliterating wetlands.

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To stop and impound our stream flows in the name of building raw water reservoirs is to totally negate any future hopes of ever solving our water crisis. As our population and industrial infrastructure continues to grow, we cannot afford the past practice of building more raw water reservoirs to keep pace with the ever-increasing water demand. The supply of raw water must remain in our streams for us all to use. Reservoirs are like stop signs, they stop the stream flow and lose a large portion of their capacity to evaporation.

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We must have raw water for industry, for our homes, coolant water for generating stations, for hydroelectric production, for commercial water borne traffic, for recreation and aquatic life. Promoting public use of existing municipal, USA Corps of Federal Engineers, private and utility owned raw water reservoirs and the concept of returning most of the withdrawn water back to the streams means that we now must build more sewerage treatment plants, not raw water reservoirs, replace Land Application System (LAS) and personal septic tank systems with municipal sewerage treatment plants discharging their treated effluent back into the streams and not, as currently done, back into the ground.

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We must now reverse the policies of the past and return our surface water back to the streams where we all can use it. Water is like money; it must be kept in circulation. Our own State EPD director has said many times, “everybody is down stream of every body else”. We all drink the same water, breathe the same air.

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With respect to our current water crisis, one can only conclude that our own “in state” past practice of regulating our most precious natural resource, water, has been a failure. We must reverse this trend and immediately implement the policies of “Real Time Water Usage”. Using existing potable water lines, we can “wheel” water from areas having an abundant supply to those in need.

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The past practice of allowing each county to remain autonomous with their supply of potable water must be changed to a team (inter county) concept. Our Federal, State and Local governments now have a “big job” to do, solve our water crisis not only for Georgia but also for our Nation. The implementation and management of “Real Time Water Usage” is the only solution. Once initiated, it is self-perpetuating. The end result is: we have made the entire state one big reservoir from whence we all can withdraw water, including our downstream neighbors, the states of Florida and Alabama.

                


10-5-07 Oconee Votes to approve $ 66 Million in Water Bonds for Hard Labor Creek

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Charles Baugh COF 10-5-07 - We have simply been mortgaged to pay for more roof tops and we have less opportunity to manage that growth effectively because we must meet the mortgage payments by selling water.

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AVOC

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October 5, 2007

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Oconee “Approves” $ 66 Million in Water Bonds for Hard Labor Creek Project

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By Wendell Dawson, Editor, AVOC, Inc

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Is anyone looking at the facts and figures on this Boondoggle!?!

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Oconee is going into an historic debt load for a piddling water capacity of 3.5 MGD that may be available in 2014!   Does anyone really believe that capacity will last until 2030 when we incur an additional heavy debt?!

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Does anyone really believe our tax digest is not on the line for this?!?!

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Oconee County Folks need to wake up to what is happening to our county!!......


8-14-07 The Walton Water Project makes no sense for Oconee County

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Oconee would pay $ 45.6 million and get 3.4 million gallons of water a day. In a second phase, sometime after 2030, Oconee would pay an additional $ 59.3 million and get an additional 8.6 million gallons of water a day…….”

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In comparison, Oconee County is a partner in the Bear Creek-Jackson County reservoir and owns capacity of 7 MGD and treatment capacity of 4 MGD for less than $ 10 Million!!! 

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This project and its enormous debt will be around for many years after all commissioners in both Oconee and Walton have been long gone.    Many will be gone before it can be completed.   Yet Oconee seems in a “panic mode” to “get water” to replace capacity it has squandered in recent years.

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AVOC

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August 12, 2007

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The Walton Water Project makes no sense for Oconee County

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By Wendell Dawson, Editor, AVOC, Inc

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If one looks at the numbers and published information, it makes little sense for Oconee County to become entangled in the Walton County – Hard Labor Creek Project.   One also senses better options for Walton County.

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Yet, some individuals are “pushing the project” with minimal regard for future consequences.   This project and its enormous debt will be around for many years after all commissioners in both Oconee and Walton have been long gone.    Many will be gone before it can be completed.   The fees and payments to consultants etc will have long been paid and they will be looking to the next one……….

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Oconee seems in a “panic mode” to “get water” to replace capacity it has squandered in recent year.   However, the cost of $ 45.6 million to get 3.4 million gallons does not make economic sense.   The current administration has squandered that much capacity at Bear Creek with its Fast Growth Policies.……………


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Citizens for Oconee's Future, Inc
P. O. Box 1301
Watkinsville, GA 30677

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October 05, 2007

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Oconee Board of Commissioners Meeting on Reservoir Bonds

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By Charles Baugh

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Just when you think you have heard all the bad news about the Walton County reservoir, comes this.  Some will remember that Oconee's cost share for the first phase of the project was originally estimated to be $ 43,000,000.  Sometime later the number being used was $ 48,000,000.  The number used during the very short discussion of the bond issue last night was $ 49,800,000.  Not only that, the Citigroup bond salesman who did part of the presentation recommended the Board approve a bond issue of $ 66,000,000 at up to 15% interest which the BOC approved with little discussion. 

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The vote was 3-1 with Hale, Luke and Norris voting for the issue.  (Hale voted against the original motion, go figure) It now appears that Oconee will have to validate the bonds and the stated reason for the $ 66,000,000 issue at up to 15% interest was to avoid going back to court to validate each issue of bonds plus a significant amount of the issue will be for capitalized interest.  

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That means the county will borrow funds to pay interest on the bonds until enough development can be driven into the county to sell enough water to make the payments.  That way the current Board avoids writing checks to pay the interest and thus avoids the consequence of this awful decision.   By validating $ 66,000,000 the opportunity for citizens to intervene in the likely event of escalating costs is eliminated.  By the time the project costs escalate to $ 66,000,000 at which point another bond validation would be necessary so much would have been spent, the county would have no other choice but to keep spending and just validate another bond issue. With capitalized interest and the inevitable cost overruns this bond issue is very likely to be insufficient to cover the first phase.  Remember, this phase will produce only 3.5 million gallons per day 6 or 7 years from now.

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During the short discussion the Citigroup bond salesman stated the 15% maximum interest rate is just in case interest rates rise in the future and future boards might want to issue variable rate bonds.  He also stated they had recently sold a bond issue at 4.4% interest.  Anyone who would like to see what that translates into in total payback over 30 years (although the contract allows bonds to be issued for 50 years) should pull up an interest calculation program on any of the mortgage company Internet sites.  I used Bankrate.com and efunda.com.  The total payback on $ 66,000,000 at 4.4% for 30 years is $ 118,980,792.26.  The monthly payment will be $ 303,520.20 once all the bonds are issued.  ……………..



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