Jacksonville Gets Good News on Financing for Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade

By Benjamin Cox on July 13, 2023 at 1:57pm

Talks of the derecho recovery and the Nichols Park Pool renovations dominated Monday night’s Jacksonville City Council meeting. Sandwiched in between those discussions was good news from the Illinois EPA.

Reg Benton of Benton & Associates delivered some new financial terms for upgrades at the Wastewater Treatment Plant: “The City of Jacksonville is going to actually receive $600,000 more in principle loan forgiveness towards this project, which is in essence a grant. You also are getting a lower interest rate. It was originally quoted at 1.24%, albeit very low, down to 0.93%. So it’s just fabulous news associated with that project.”

Mayor Andy Ezard says the principal loan forgiveness and new rate will help keep the utility department’s rates for customers low during the upgrades. Ezard commends the City Council for rapidly acting on the project when space opened up in the Illinois EPA’s program funding: “The council made a great call weeks ago about starting that project a little bit sooner or being ready to start sooner if we were to get this situated, which we did. Benton & Associates did a great job. What it does is it obviously helps our bottom line. It keeps our rates reduced, but it really jump-starts the project. Not only did we get the $600,000 but the interest rate also went down to 0.93%. It was originally quoted to be in the 3’s. Money coming that way is a good thing.”

Ezard believes that the project may ultimately cost more than initially reported, so any cost savings will help the city from drawing more from general funds. Ezard said back in April that the lower interest rate is projected to save the city approximately $150,000 annually amounting to $4 million over the life of the loan.