Madison County’s infrastructure development is in a state of hiatus — at least until some debts are paid off.
The county industrial authority spent much of the past decade running water lines in the county with the help of grants and loans, but the group is not in a position to pursue new projects.
Group members acknowledged that fact during their Oct. 17 meeting.
Marvin White noted that the IDA has been approached by Medlink on Hwy. 72 about providing sewer services to the facility, where an expansion is planned. But there are no funds available for the IDA to provide those services. He said debt payments are being paid on time but that the authority is not in position to expand right now.
“We just continue to look and see if we can do something on the sewer there, but we don’t have the money to do it and we can’t borrow the money and make payments on it,” said White. “We’re strapped with payments.”
White pointed out that the county digest decreased by $90 million in 2010, which put a significant dent in revenues for the IDA. The digest has yet to return to previous levels. This has also impacted revenues for the county government.
Industrial authority chairman Bruce Azevedo said taking on new debts is not advisable now for the IDA.
“The next thing we do like that (a sewer project) we’re going to have to have something that shows we’re actually producing revenue for us to be able to pay, and the commissioners and the cities are going to have to be involved,” said Azevedo. “It’s just too expensive for us to do on our own.”
Azevedo said the long-term plan to run sewer services down Hwy. 72 is sensible — as far as expanding the county tax base — but he said it’s not feasible now.
“Sewer down Hwy. 72 will cost millions of dollars and the IDA cannot handle that; it’s going to have be a community effort,” said Azevedo.
The chairman said the IDA can start looking at more projects as debts on previous water projects are paid off.
“We’re three and a half or four years from paying our first debt off and then after that I think it’s every two years,” said Azevedo.
In a separate matter Oct. 17, the IDA learned that Madison County water customers purchased over 10 million gallons of water from the IDA in September, a monthly record.
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