The process to obtain a loan to help pay for a new water tank in the city has moved forward a bit, Water Department Director Larry Garrett told the Huntsville Water & Sewer Commission.

“The loan process has kind of taken some steps forward,” Garrett said last week. “I’ve done the part we have to submit to the attorneys for the loan closing.”

The commission met on Jan. 2.

The city’s current water tank is more than 50 years old. To make repairs and repaint the tank would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, Garrett has said previously.

The water department’s new tank will cost $1.1 million. The utility has received $309,000 in grants, but a loan is needed for the rest.

The loan will be with the United State Department of Agriculture.

“We’re getting $309,000 from

[USDA’s] Rural Development. It’s been sent to their board for approval,” Garrett said.

The process to obtain the funding is slow, but Garrett said progress is being seen.

“It could happen within the next couple of months and it could be after I’m gone,” he said as to a timeline for getting all of the funding.

The new tank will be installed near the Madison County Fairgrounds atop Governors Hill. Work will not begin until the funding issue is completed.

“Not until we have full funding. Once we have full funding, yes, we’ll go pretty rapidly,” Garrett said.

City crews will assist the project by getting water lines to the site, but concrete footings and the new tank will be installed by a contractor.

Garrett also told the board about the department’s next yearly audit, which will take place in February or March.

Garrett last summer told the commission of his plans to retire, but did not offer an exact date of when he will leave. He said last week that he told the commission at its recent meeting that he plans to leave soon.

“Not to be set totally in concrete, but May 1st,” Garrett said. “I guess there are things that could change my mind, but I don’t intend for that to happen.”

This month marks Garrett’s 25th year with the water utility.

Sean Davis, distribution operator with the water department, last August was selected as Garrett’s replacement. Davis has worked with the city since 2005.

Garrett joined the city’s water department in 1995 as a distribution operator. After he became wastewater manager, he was asked to fill in for the water director, who left the job vacant. Six months later, he became director.

The commission’s next meeting will be at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 6, at the water department.

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