With Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax 2020 practically guaranteed a spot on the 2020 presidential primary ballot next May, the Brunswick-Glynn County Joint Water and Sewer Commission is working out which projects it will ask to add to the list.
During interviews with The News earlier this year, all seven Glynn County commissioners said they would vote to put a new SPLOST on next year’s ballot. The county commission will take an official vote on the matter at its meeting at 6 p.m. today.
On the JWSC’s end, staff members have been working out a list of what they think ought to be on the list of projects to be covered by the penny tax. Interim Executive Director Andrew Burroughs presented a preliminary version of that list to the utility’s facilities committee Wednesday.
“We have outlined what we see as our proposal for SPLOST projects,” Burroughs said. “We will be working with the city and the county on some cooperative projects, and hopefully some of these will line up with what they have already.”
The list included five projects dealing with the public water system, four with the sewer system and two service expansion projects, not listed in order of importance. The full list added up to about $34.7 million. Staff members had not yet attached a price to one of the items.
Water system projects mostly revolved around replacing old pipe with PVC and installing larger pipes in some areas. Doing so in the Beverly Shores neighborhood would cost around $2.9 million, $1.2 million for the College Park neighborhood, $6 million for Fairway Oaks and $3.1 million for Waverly Pines.
“Some of these have some large price tags, particularly Fairway Oaks. I will say a lot of this money in these project estimates is tied up in paving. So if the city of Brunswick is doing any paving as a part of their SPLOST projects, it will reduce those costs,” Burroughs said.
Replacing water mains in the Pier Village on St. Simons Island rounded out the water system projects and would cost around $212,030.
As for the sewer system, Burroughs said utility staff members recommended a $2.3 million project to reroute sewer force mains from two pump stations — which would dovetail with the utility’s SPLOST 2016 rerouting project — an $8.1 million project to line degrading sewer pipes with cured-in-place pipe, a $3 million project to install odor reducing equipment at 12 pump stations and a $2.9 million project to install emergency bypass pumps at 17 pump stations.
Finally, he touched on the two expansion projects.
Given recent interest in industrial and multi-use development along Ga. Highway 99, utility staff members recommended building a well and water tower near exit 42 of Interstate 95.
Committee member Donald Elliot asked if he could justify that project.
“We believe so in that area,” Burroughs said. “Currently, the way the system is structured, the Cate Road tank for a lot that water pushes back down across the Interstate, so having that storage capacity for the (Highway) 99 corridor would be helpful. It certainly is justified, especially if we get an industrial customer or some mixed-use development.”
The last item on the list is the subject of an ongoing study to find out how much the utility would have to pay to expand the sewer system into three areas close to existing water and sewer lines.
“As you know, we have this study going on right now to look at the three areas — the Arco area, what we’re calling the Ellis Point area and the area between Old Jesup (Road) and (U.S. Highway) 341. We don’t have that number back. We’re expecting to have that this month, within the next week or two,” Burroughs said.
“This is where we see our priorities going. We spent all the SPLOST money this time on sewer projects, so we want to get some water projects as well as provide some needed sewer work.”
Utility staff will continue working with the city of Brunswick and Glynn County to overlap their projects where possible and to lower the cost estimates, Burroughs said.
In other business, the committee recommended the full utility commission approve a contract with engineer Elmo Richardson to update plans for a well off Perry Lane Road.
A well already exists there, Burroughs said, but it isn’t set up to clean the water it pumps. Currently, the well is mostly used for emergencies.
The JWSC has had $1 million set aside to upgrade it into a potable well for years but hasn’t acted on it yet. He recommended entering into a $104,450 contract with Richardson to “dust off” and update their construction plans.
The committee approved the contract 3-0.
Actually upgrading the well will likely cost more than $1 million, he explained, so the full utility commission will need to appropriate more money at some point.
The committee also recommended approval of an agreement with Wade Jurney Homes in which the subdivision developer will pay sewer tap-in fees in advance.
Burroughs said the fees will be earmarked for improvements to the sewer system in the area, which is currently near capacity.
In addition, the committee recommended the commission contract with engineering firm Goodwyn Mills Cawood to design upgrades to the Academy Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, an agreement with the city of Brunswick to use SPLOST 5 money for odor control improvements to Academy Creek and to contract with Pure Technologies U.S. to inspect a force main in Brunswick.
The full utility commission will consider all items recommended for approval at its meeting today at 2 p.m. in the JWSC’s headquarters, 1703 Gloucester St. in Brunswick.