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Georgiana a step closer to being able to overhaul sewage system

It was on Mike Middleton’s wish list. And now, it’s been brought before the appropriations committee in Washington.

“Congressman Bobby Bright included my request for consideration for a grant to provide the City of Georgiana with an overhaul of its water/ sewer system among the five items he chose to bring before the committee,” said the Georgiana mayor.

“He is the only official who responded back to us on this, and at least we know he is working for us.”

Middleton said news on whether or not Georgiana will get the grant should be known by August or September 2010.

He also wants to assure Georgiana citizens their water bills will not undergo a huge increase.

“We have 67 percent of our population on a fixed income. The USDA told us 18 months ago we had to raise our rates by $17 or more per customer, and then we’d qualify for a loan,” Middleton said.

“We still owe money on our current waste treatment plant . . . if we borrow more money, 50 years from now, folks will still be paying on it. So I am not going to the Water and Sewer Board and ask for that kind of increase.”

Middleton said he was looking into a grant that would pay 80 to 90 percent of the costs with Georgiana providing 10 to 20 percent in matching funds.

“We can’t afford it, but we have to find a way. We have to do something,” Middleton said.

He added the USDA is looking into assisting the city with a new water tank.

The prognosis for Georgiana’s rough and pothole-ridden streets is less optimistic. “We can’t seem to find anyone looking to help us pave our streets and that is one of our biggest needs. We have to look at what’s in the greatest need of work, get prices and do what we can do,” Middleton said.