LAKE CITY, S.C. (WBTW) — With the start of a new fiscal year, millions of dollars worth of projects are underway in Lake City.

The bulk of that money, about $10 million, will be focused on the city’s wastewater treatment plant. Crews will improve two aeration basins and construct a new lab. Groundbreaking for the lab is scheduled to take place this week.

City administrator William A. Hall said the plant was overdue for improvements, which will help bring it up to current standards and save the city money in the long run.

“It’s going to be a more efficient way for us to process the sewage because I don’t think our plant has been updated in 15 or 20 years in that area,” Hall said. “We are also looking at putting solar out there because that is one of our major power bills for the city of Lake City.”

The work at the plant is expected to be finished later this year, but Hall said millions will be spent on other parts of the city.

“We’re doing a lot right now because it’s available for us to do,” he said. “And it’s past time for the city.”

He said this particularly busy year is made possible in large part by grants, which he said he is constantly on the lookout for.

“If there is free money out there, we are going to grab it and get our share of it,” Hall said.

One project includes repaving roads, building sidewalks and improving stormwater systems in some of the city’s lowest-lying neighborhoods, which can be prone to flooding.

Mayor Lovith Anderson, Jr. said stormwater systems are constantly being improved, but the Carver Street area has been overlooked.

“We’re actually playing catch-up on this,” Anderson said. “It will give us the opportunity to get some of those outlying areas that were ordinarily being missed.”

Hall said the city also plans to build and sell five affordable houses on city property for about $90,000. If the project goes well, it will plan to construct and sell five more.

“That property has been sitting around on our books for many years collecting dust,” he said. “We are going to push the dust aside and start building houses on it.”

Yet another project will convert a building formerly used for Florence/Darlington Tech classes into a community center.

The first phase of that project will cost $250,000, with $8 million in expansions planned for the future, Hall said. He said it will complement other recreation efforts in the city, including the creation of a youth e-sports league.

“We’re trying to keep our youth occupied,” Hall said. “We are trying to keep them out of the hands of gang members and give them things to do.”

The projects will not cause a property tax increase, but residents will see a stormwater fee for the first time, and water and sewer fees will increase slightly.