By Gary Nelson
Cumberland County commissioners approved a $358,800 budget amendment in order to receive a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) for the benefit of South Cumberland Utility District (SCUD).
The funds will be benefit the utility district's water construction project for the extension of water lines. The county applied for the grant earlier this year.
Approximately 27 homes will gain access to clean, reliable drinking water thanks to the CDBG grant awarded to Cumberland County. The county's portion of the matching funds required for the grant will be provided by SCUD for the project in the Thomas Springs area of Cumberland County.
"The people who live in this area are forced to rely on private wells, which produce water of questionable quality and quantity as their sole source of water," said Sandy Brewer, general manager of SCUD.
The idea for the project began in late fall 2012, when Cumberland County Mayor Kenneth Carey Jr. attended a meeting of the SCUD board of commissioners, asking if they would commit to providing the matching funds for a CDBG application.
Carey said at that time, "These folks need water badly. Their well water is undrinkable."
The SCUD board of commissioners agreed and voted unanimously at its Jan. 31, 2013, meeting to provide matching funds of about $101,000. The SCUD board of commissioners includes President Jay Brown, Mike Stone and Dr. James Barnawell.
The federally funded CDBG grant program will provide the balance of $358,800 for the project that will include installation of more than 19,000 linear feet of a 4-inch water line and about 7,980 linear feet of a 2-inch water line.
The areas receiving the water lines will be Thomas Springs Rd., Lawson Town Rd., Puncheon Camp Creek Rd. and Wilson Way.
The bids should be ready for advertisement by late February or early March 2014, Brewer said. Weather permitting, these 27 homes should have water service by August next year.
"We are very excited to be a part of bringing water to these people who need it so desperately," Brewer said.
During the county's December budget committee meeting, Carey said, "This is an area of the county that is in real need of quality water."
Sonya Rimmer, 8th District commissioner, made a motion during December's county commission meeting, to approve the budget amendment in order to accept the grant for the county.
"This is in the district and I want to thank you Mayor Carey for all the hard work in getting this done for us," Rimmer said.
Rimmer's motion was supported by Mike Harvel, 7th District commissioner, and was unanimously approved.