The $356,672, representing the lowest of three bids received by the city, is being furnished through a 10-year loan from the Georgia Municipal Association at an interest rate of 3 percent. Repayments will begin after the construction is completed; construction should take no longer than 12 weeks following the start date.
Plans for a gas line extension have been in the works for some time as a way to provide more cost-efficient heating fuel to the numerous chicken farmers who live south of the city, who currently must rely on expensive propane. At $900,000, the original total cost of the entire seven-mile project was deemed too prohibitive, and a plan to ask residents who would be hooked up to the line to pay a large service fee to help offset the cost was met with extreme dislike. The project was then downgraded and split into parts, with the portion contracted to NPL Construction covering only 2.9 miles of the original plan.
The city, though it approved the contract, admits that this first section of new gas line will not be profitable due to the scant number of chicken houses and residents to which it will attach. Once loan repayments begin, the city will owe the Georgia Municipal Association approximately $31-32,000 per year; in the first year of service, the city estimates to make only $9,000 off the new section of line. Despite the cost, the LaFayette city council concluded that the project must be done in order to continue the expansion further southward along the originally planned route, where more poultry houses and residents live and will be able to connect to the services.
The new gas line will travel down Foster Mill Drive, eventually reaching East Broomtown Road with the final phase of the project, which is still years away. City officials hope to have a project ready to be bid to complete the next section of the gas line within the next two y. Construction on the first section is set to be complete before the start of the winter season.