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Published: November 7, 2019

Public meeting is first step in grant application


Life is better for hundreds of Lawrence County residents thanks to the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.

CDBG-funded projects in Lawrence County have included fire trucks in Loretto and St. Joseph; weather warning sirens in Loretto, St. Joseph, and Ethridge; an emergency response vehicle in Ethridge; sewer system rehabilitation in Lawrenceburg; improvements in the Iron City water system; and many, many, water line extensions in rural areas.

Water line extensions have connected residents from Piney to Appleton to the safe, dependable water supplies of our water districts, eliminating dependence on wells or springs for household water.

My own home is a good example. Under County Executive Paul Rosson’s administration, water lines were installed in the Five Points area and we became part of the Leoma Utility District.

Our well had provided all the water we needed, but we live in farm country and worried that pesticides might eventually leach into it. The well pump operated on electricity so power outages left us without water. Pumps require maintenance, can freeze in cold weather, and cost a lot to replace. We are so happy to have a clean, dependable and worry-free source of water.

There are still Lawrence Countians who do not enjoy those benefits. A public meeting is set for 5 p.m. Thursday, November 14 in the Administrative Center conference room to hear from those who need a better option for water.

Attendees will also learn about CDBG guidelines. Areas eligible for grant-funded water extensions must be moderately populated – roads with just 2-3 homes per mile do not qualify.

At least 51% of households that sign up for water extensions in a particular area must be low- to moderate-income.  These residents pay a small fee to have water lines connected to their homes. Higher-income residents pay a tap fee and the cost of having lines installed between the water meter and their homes.

The November 14 public meeting is the first step in the grant application process. If your area is under consideration for a water line extension, you will be contacted by your commissioner.

CDBG funds are administered by the Tennessee Department of Economic & Community Development. Staff at South Central Tennessee Development District do a great job applying for and administering these grants, and will be here next Thursday to answer questions.