Leesburg approves two water improvement projects

LEESBURG — Construction could begin in early 2014 to replace some of Leesburg’s primary water system transmission lines.

By mid 2014, construction also could begin on the city’s new 300,000-gallon elevated water tank.

The water system improvements will provide new eight-inch lines down U.S. Highway 19, connecting to the well on Starksville Road, traveling down Second Street, then Old Smithville Road and connecting to the proposed new water tower near Lee schools.

City Council members voted 7-0 last week to proceed on the both water system improvement projects.

Installing the new transmission lines is expected to cost $692,544, according to Chad Griffin, project engineer for Cater & Sloope, consulting engineers for the City of Leesburg.

No grant funds are involved, but the state has agreed to providing financing at a rate of 1.4 percent.

Originally this project was expected to be larger in terms of scope of work, but Griffin said the City was denied in its attempt to get a $500,000 grant.

The work will proceed, however, but the project has been scaled down so the cost to the city will remain at the $692,544 level.

Griffin said the City can reapply for the $500,000 grant in March.

“I still think it’s a viable project,” Griffin said. “I still think you have a very good chance in the future to receive that.”

Griffin said the City can use the improvements along U.S. 19 as “leverage” in its next application.

“This (installation of the transmission lines) will be real work, not imaginary,” Griffin said.

Construction of the new water tank, which will replace a smaller, outdated tank, is expected to cost $725,000. A grant of $181,250 has been approved for the tank, leaving the City a debt of $543,750. This balance also includes the favorable financing rate of 1.4 percent.

“This project has federal funds tied to it to it will take more than a few moneys to get it done,” Griffin said. ‘When you have to jump through environmental loopholes, it takes a tremendous amount of time.:

Griffin said the grant requirements call for the City to begin drawing funds by June 2014.

City Councilman Bob Wilson made the motion to proceed on the water system projects. The motion was seconded by Richard Bush and approved 7-0.