reception

Public hearing explains grant process

Published 1:50pm Monday, July 8, 2013

Several roads in Atmore are in line for sewer improvements via a state-funded grant program, according to officials leading a public hearing at Atmore City Hall Monday afternoon.

Bob Watts, of Community Development Group, Inc., was on hand to explain the specifics of applications put forth by the City of Atmore on behalf of West Escambia Utilities to the state for a Community Development Block Grant that will partially fund the rehabilitation of sewer lines along Ashley Street, Jones Street, Sinkfield Street and Martin Luther King Avenue.

Watts said the CDBG grant money is set aside by the state – around $22 million this year – for improvements to areas with lower to moderate-income families.

According to Watts, most municipalities are required to put forth at least 10 percent of the funds needed for a project, though most cities and towns, he said, apply more money in hopes of having applications approved.

“The more money you put in, the better your chances are of having the application go through,” he said. “It’s kind of one of those things where the more money you put into it, the more you really want it.”

The latest application by the City of Atmore includes sewer improvements in the amount of $144,000; engineering and inspections costs of $54,000; and program administration fees of $42,000 for a total cost of $540,000. Should the application be approved by the state, CDBG funds would cover $450,000 of the cost, with $90,000 coming from Atmore’s utilities board, which owns the sewer lines in question.

According to a survey done in partnership with the City of Atmore, Watts said approximately 119 people would directly benefit from the improvements.

Watts said the deadline to submit the application is Monday, Aug. 19, 2013. Should the application be approved, Watts said construction would likely begin in summer 2014.

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