DeKalb secures $285M loan for water and sewer projects

DeKalb County secured Tuesday a $285 million loan to help finance much-needed sewer and water projects.

The loan was acquired through the federal Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) and comes less than two years after the county accepted another $265 million loan through the same process.

The program, which is run through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, offers lower interest rates than the general market for local governments undertaking significant infrastructure projects.

ExploreDeKalb approves hike in water and sewer rates

Dianne McNabb, DeKalb’s chief financial officer, said Tuesday that the county had locked in an interest rate of 2.94% and would stand to save as much as $103 million in interest over the term of the loan, which runs through 2060.

DeKalb has committed to spending more than $2 billion to repair, improve and expand the county’s historically neglected water and sewer infrastructure. That sum includes hundreds of millions of dollars in sewer projects mandated by a renegotiated agreement with state and federal environmental regulators.

Last month, the county approved a 6% hike in water and sewer rates for residents. Officials have said the increase — the first in several years — is necessary to help cover system improvements and re-pay loans like the one secured Tuesday.

New rates go into affect in August.