City to seek grants for water system improvements

Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 04:09 PM.

CHIPLEY — The Chipley City Council voted on Wednesday 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.

Meeting in a special session, the council heard a presentation from H. Douglas Bruce and Tom Bryant, consultants from the firm Doug Bruce & Associates of Tallahassee, who told the council members of the steps necessary to seek federal grants for waterline repairs.

“I had talked to Mayor (Linda) Cain about the needs of the city, and we understand you have an issue with unaccounted water,” Bruce said. “The Legislature has appropriated funds to address these types of issues.”

Bruce said the city could apply for grants and funding by using the services of a consulting firm at no cost to the city. The consulting firm would be paid a percentage of whatever grant monies eventually are secured, and the percentage is negotiated between the city and the consultants.

The city would first seek a planning grant of up to $300 for hiring consultants and engineers to come up with the necessary designs for improvements. The grants are typically 75-25 matching grants, Bruce said, which means the city would be responsible for $75,000 on a $300,000 grant.

“We don’t have the money, but I would hate to see us miss the opportunity,” said council member Karen Rustin.

Resident and real estate broker Gary Hartman told the council that extending water service south of I-10 could mean economic growth for the city’s interstate corridor.

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