CHIPLEY — City Council members met in a five-minute session Thursday to approve a resolution authorizing the submission of an application for a rural infrastructure feasibility grant.
The grant is the first in a series of grants the city will seek as it strives to extend water service to south of Interstate 10 and works to update the town’s aging waterlines.
Tom Bryant, representing the consultant firm Doug Bruce & Associates of Tallahassee, was on hand, but the council had no questions for him.
“This resolution is really just us showing support for this grant process,” City Administrator Dan Miner said, adding that the council has voiced its opinion that the city should concentrate on extending the water service to south of the interstate.
The council voted in February to take the first step in seeking grant funding for repairing the city’s aging waterlines and to expand the city’s water system to south of Interstate 10 when it put out a request for qualifications for a consulting firm. Doug Bruce & Associates was ultimately chosen to serve the city in that capacity.
Miner said currently the city utilities including water, sewer and gas end at the Super 8 Motel property.
Resident and real estate broker Gary Hartman told the council in February that extending water service south of I-10 could mean economic growth for the city’s interstate corridor.
“If the water is there, the businesses will come,” Hartman said, noting that while a hotel could not be built without city sewer services, restaurants could function on city water and a septic tank. “Restaurants definitely need city water, if they operate on a well, then they have to have their water tested every month,” Hartman said.
He said interested businesses have looked at the land in the past, but due to lack of water and sewer utilities, nothing has been done with the property.
On Thursday, Hartman reminded the council that the city owns a one-acre parcel just south of the interstate. “It would make sense that that would be the first place for the water to go,” he said.
The city also loses between 22 and 27 percent of its water supply due to leaks, Miner told the council in February. Improving the water retention would save energy and make the water service more profitable, as well as saving energy. The energy savings for the city’s water plant could be sufficient cause to receive a grant for the repairs.
Council Member Karen Rustin asked if the city planned on taking the waterlines to Blue Lake.
“It would be nice if we could take them all the way to State Park Road,” Miner said. “But we will probably have to do that in phases.”
“If we get the lines south of the interstate, then we can get businesses in there and that can help with getting the lines extended further south, Hartman said.