Council meets to discuss $350K grant for water system
by Briana Webster
Jun 17, 2014 | 1209 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Heath Reed, center, goes over plans for the city’s water system with members of the Carbon Hill Utilities Board. – Photo by: Briana Webster.
Heath Reed, center, goes over plans for the city’s water system with members of the Carbon Hill Utilities Board. – Photo by: Briana Webster.
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CARBON HILL — The Carbon Hill City Council held a special meeting Monday night to allow the city’s mayor to sign a water grant agreement.

The city council and utilities board applied for a $350,000 Community Development Block grant in August 2013 to improve the town’s water system. Grant writer Terry Acuff, of Community Consultants, approached the council to discuss the next step in the grant process.

“The grant was awarded back in October 2013, and then we went through all the letter conditional commitment stuff. We submitted the stuff to ADECA, all the ADECA requirements, and y’all hired Community Consultants and Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood which had Heath Reed to design the project,” Acuff said. “We did all that. Then, we started calling ADECA saying, ‘Ok, we’re getting ready to start,’ and they said, ‘Well, where’s your grant agreement?’”

Acuff said that ADECA had sent a copy to the city on Feb. 10 but that the grant agreement had been misplaced. The plans have been designed and completed by Reed but bids on the project cannot go any further until the city allows Mayor James “Pee Wee” Richardson to sign a new grant agreement.

Carbon Hill was one of numerous cities across the state to receive the grant. Acuff said the city’s utilities board will match the grant by contributing $38,000.

The grant will help to replace water lines on 6th and 8th avenues and 2nd Way NW.

The current system is served by 93-year-old, cast-iron water pipes that are leaking.

“After Heath reviews the plans with the utilities board and they bless the plans, we’ll be ready to advertise. ... We’ll wait anywhere between 21 to 28 days. Once the bids are received, we’ll go to the utilities board and make sure they agree with the contractor,” Acuff said. “We’ll come back to y’all; you’ll authorize the mayor to enter into contract with the contractor, and he’ll start to work.”

He continued to say that construction should start on those roads possibly 30 days after opening bids.

District 2 council member Jack Dunn asked who would be handling the grant money. Acuff said a separate bank account would need to be set up by the city and the “only thing that will flow through this account will be the grant money plus matching money the utilities board contributed.” 

The checks will be sent to the city clerk who will deposit them into the new account. Acuff said dual signatures will be needed on the checks. The city council previously established city clerk Janice Pendley and District 5 council member Suzanne Atkins as the signees.

District 1 council member Sandra Garrison made a motion to accept and allow Richardson to sign the agreement, and Dunn seconded it. Bids should open in late June or early July and then be awarded at some point in July.

After the meeting, Reed met with utilities board members to present and discuss plans for the city’s water system. Utilities board chairman Bill Hurst said he was very pleased with the plans and looks forward to the construction process.

“When I came on this water board back in ‘79 to ‘84, it was a problem, and we’ve been trying to get something fixed on all the old water lines for years. It’s now come down to this, and I’ll be glad when we get done with it. It’ll help,” Hurst said. “... There are mines all under this town, and we had leaks before back then that we couldn’t find. ... When they get done, that’ll be the last of the old cast iron ones; they’re about 100 years old.” 

The city will hold a financial workshop at 5 p.m. on Thursday, June 26, before its regularly scheduled city council meeting at 6 p.m.