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Clay County seeks grant to replace well

 

Nathan Gregory

 

WEST POINT -- The Golden Triangle Planning and Development District is collecting signatures and information for a grant application. If awarded, Clay County could receive funding to replace a failed well. 

 

A public hearing for the Community Development Block Grant application was held Thursday during the Clay County Supervisors meeting.  

 

GTPDD applied for the grant for Siloam Water District last year, but funding is awarded based on a point system that gives priority to municipalities and counties who can show the most documentation of need, as well as the ability to match grant funding, grant administrator Phylis Benson said. 

 

The county is trying to replace a well on Highway 46 that failed in late 2012. The district, which District 4 Supervisor Shelton Deanes says services about 300 residences and 500 residents, has another well in operation, so the area is still being serviced.  

 

If that well were to fail, the residents would not have running water. Only municipalities and counties are eligible for CDBG funding, so if Clay supervisors apply on Siloam Water District's behalf, they would have to do so by May 16.  

 

Half of the $23 million distributed to the Mississippi Development Authority for its CDBG program from U.S. Housing and Urban Development will be set aside for public facilities projects, like the one in the Siloam district. Last year, there were 45 applications from 38 municipalities and counties competing for funding, 15 of which were awarded. 

 

In order to have a better shot at receiving funding this go-around, Benson said she encourages residents served by the water district to document any difficulties they have as a result of the situation, and county supervisors must be willing to find matching funding. If they were to apply for $300,000 in funding, they would be more likely to receive it if they show an ability to provide $300,000 of their own, Benson said. Municipalities and counties can apply for and receive as much as $600,000 depending on the score of the application, she said.  

 

Use of a minority-owned contractor for a previous CDBG project is another way to score points on the application, which Clay County has done before. Benson said the cost-to-benefit ratio is also a factor. 

 

"I can tell how bad the story is but I have to have supporting documentation backing up the words I put into the application," Benson said. "The goal here is to ask for a little bit of money and serve a lot of people." 

 

Any residents in the Siloam Water District are encouraged to call GTPDD at 324-7860 for more information.

 

Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.

 

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