The city of Elkins is hoping a new funding opportunity for the new water treatment plant and distribution system upgrades will save the city and its residents millions of dollars.
The ongoing project has faced several delays, but is nearing construction with most of the engineering for the project complete. In 2008, the city was awarded $28 million from the USDA Rural Utility Service to fund the project. Elkins Mayor Duke Talbott said the city has been negotiating with RUS and the West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Council to lower the interest rates and save millions in interest on the project.
'We estimate that it will save $14 million in interest alone," he said.
Talbott said an Infrastructure Council finance committee has approved awarding the city $15.5 million at an interest rate of 1 percent.
"It will not be approved until next Wednesday when the council (West Virginia Infrastructure Council) votes on it," he said.
Talbott said if the funding comes through the $28 million from RUS will be returned and then RUS will re-issue $15.5 million at an interest rate of 2.75 percent. Talbott said if the funding is approved, the project will be paid for with $15.5 million from the Infrastructure Council at an interest rate of 1 percent, and the $15.5 million from RUS at the 2.75 percent interest rate.
"It will not slow down the project," Talbott said. "RUS kept changing the funding schedule.
"Now we won't be locked into that at all. We are saving about 50 percent in interest. We will save in excess of $14 million."
When RUS initially funded the entire $28 million, the project had to be completed by 2015.