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The city’s proposed wastewater line connection to Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) was the leading topic of discussion Tuesday night as the Waldo City Commission received an update about the project.

The city will reimburse Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) the estimated $5 million debt the utility will incur when building the pipeline. Waldo City Attorney John McPherson compared the cost to paying a massive connection charge. However, the exact price had not been calculated as of the Tuesday meeting.

Both McPherson and City Manager Kim Worley said the cost is comparable to the city trying to build the line itself.

The city will pay for the wastewater line with a combined grant and loan through the Rural Development Department of the USDA. The city will be required to pay back the loan portion of the financing over a 40-year period.

Currently GRU is waiting for Waldo to receive the loan and grant financing to start work on the line.  Worley estimated that the line will be completed in three years.

Mayor Louie Davis voiced concern that others could tap into the line, providing GRU gave permission.  While GRU could do that, the utility provider is required under contract to provide Waldo with 200,000 gallons and cannot cut into the Waldo reserves.

“The only thing we should worry about is our capacity,” Commissioner Rodney Estes said.

Waldo’s current capacity is 75,000 gallons and the new wastewater line will increase that capacity to 200,000 gallons.

Worley’s main concern is that water rates will no longer be set by the City of Waldo.  “I’d rather deal with the City of Gainesville than anybody else,” Commissioner Estes said in response to the city manager’s concern.